SINGAPORE: Balloon vendors in Singapore are turning to products that do not require helium, as prices for the gas soar amid a looming shortage.
This is even as demand for helium-filled balloons, which are commonly used for occasions like birthday parties, weddings and proposals, continues to rise.
Over the last year, the price of helium has been increasing by about 15 per cent every three to six months since late 2022, and now costs more than triple its pre-pandemic price.
Misty Daydream co-founder Tan Jia Jun said that one tank of helium gas now costs S$350 (US$261), up from S$90 in 2021.
One tank holds about 47 litres of helium and can typically be used to fill about 350 11-inch latex balloons.
Mr Tan said that his party business raised prices late last year, meaning customers have to fork out more.
“When we did a quarterly check, we found out that for helium balloons, we were selling at S$1.50 (per balloon), it’s not sustainable for us. So our prices have increased from S$1.50 to S$1.80,” he said.
He said that his suppliers pointed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as one of the reasons for the increase in prices. The two countries used to supply the gas, but now, the supply comes from the United States.
Despite the higher price tag, sales for helium-filled balloons have nearly doubled at Misty Daydream since last year. The shop now goes through each tank more quickly – in a week, instead of 10 days.
Helium balloons make up 70 per cent of his business, Mr Tan said.