Recent research indicates that a large portion of floral consumers are willing to pay a little more if that means supporting their values.

Dr. Coleman Etheredge, assistant professor of floral management at Mississippi State University, recently released the findings of his research project, titled “U.S. Consumer Perceptions & Willingness to Pay for Sustainable Environmental Practices in the Floral Industry.” The project was a joint effort with researchers at Texas State University.

“We’ve known for some time that consumers are willing to pay a premium to companies that support their values,” said Etheredge. “But we really wanted to see how this played out in the floral industry.”

According to Etheredge, the results of his research can assist floral providers make decisions about how to structure their businesses to become more environmentally friendly in ways that matter to their consumers.

Cole Etheredge

The primary purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of consumer perceptions as they relate to retail floral providers’ values and sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. The study cataloged responses from 2,000 participants and yielded the following key takeaways from respondents:

  • 35% of the participants purchase flowers three to four times a year, and 22.1% purchase flowers once or twice a year. A total of 65.3% make their purchases in person.
  • 65.1% supported the use of locally sourced flowers (defined as flowers grown and harvested within 100 miles of the place of sale). The phrase “locally sourced” is potentially an important trigger phrase for consumers when deciding where to make a floral purchase.
  • 63.9% supported flower waste recycling through composting.
  • 61.42% would be more willing to make purchases from an environmentally friendly floral provider when compared to one that is not.
  • 55.7% would prefer to make purchases from a certified environmentally floral provider.
  • 51.7% preferred organically sourced flowers.
  • Consumers were least willing to pay additional charges for organically grown flowers and fair-trade sourced flowers, with 27.5% and 26.7% of total participants, respectively, indicating they would not pay any additional increase in price for these attributes.

Those who supported these measures – such as using locally sourced flowers and composting floral waste – stated that they would pay a premium price to vendors who also supported these measures. The majority of consumers are willing to pay at least 10% over the normal retail price.

The final report includes demographic information including age, education, income, gender and ethnicity to give retailers more insight when understanding their target customer base.

According to Etheredge, his study revealed the demographic of the consumer most willing to pay a premium. “A younger female, under 35 years old, college educated, who comes from a household with an annual income of $75,000 or more is the most likely to pay a premium for floral products,” he noted.

For more in depth information, visit

by Enrico Villamaino