More people were seen to purchase flowers last minute for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, as florists said pre-orders dipped compared to last year.

The flower market in Mong Kok

was packed with people on Sunday, including husbands and boyfriends who came to buy bouquets for their partners.

For Chow Chi-man, celebrating the day for lovers on Sunday this year meant he could not order the flowers earlier.

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“In the past, I ordered flowers and had them delivered to my girlfriend’s office,” said Chow. “This year is my first time buying flowers myself.” In the end, he went to a shop and spent HK$550 for 19 pink roses.

“If you buy the flowers yourself, you have to do it on the day you give them,” he added.

Joyce Leung, director of Sakura Flora, said sales were different when Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday.

“Pre-orders saw a 30 per cent decrease as most offices do not open on Sundays and we could not deliver the flowers,” said Leung. “More flowers were sold directly on site.”

For her shop, flower prices remained the same as last year. The smallest bouquet she offered, consisting of six roses, cost HK$388. Her most expensive bouquet of 99 roses was priced at HK$4,800.

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Another shop changed its sales strategy in light of the sluggish economy. Florist Sung Yuk-yin said this year she was offering fewer large bouquets, which included up to 20 flowers in a bunch.

“We have more mid-sized bouquets this year as the economy was bad,” said Sung, who mostly offered bouquets featuring five to 12 roses.

Customer Marlon Franco spent HK$180 more on two rose bouquets compared to what he spent a few years ago. But he reckoned it was necessary to show respect and care for his ex-wife and their five-year-old daughter.

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Restaurant bookings were equally affected by the business downturn. Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said there was a 10 per cent drop in business turnover compared to a year ago.

“This is very unusual as every year we see an increase in turnover,” said Wong, adding that average spending per person had slipped from HK$600 last year to HK$550 this year.

He said the decline was due to weaker local consumption and that people with better purchasing power had travelled to other countries to celebrate the special day.

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