Consumers Willing to Pay More For Environmentally Friendly Flowers, Study Finds
As we’ve discussed before in this blog, many people, especially younger people, are interested in developing a more harmonious relationship with nature. And for homeowners, that begins with the relationship between their yard and nature. Wild gardens have been growing in popularity since before the pandemic, and as we realign and re-evaluate our place in the world and our relationship with nature post-pandemic, many consumers are always looking to make the sustainable choice for their garden or yard.
These consumers are probably already shopping at their local garden center. But a new study by the Floral Marketing Fund, the research arm of nonprofit floriculture organization American Floral Endowment, finds that consumers would rather buy flowers from an environmentally friendly retailer. Over 60% of respondents either agree or strongly agree with the statement “I would be more willing to make purchases from a retail floral provider that is environmentally friendly than from a retail floral provider that is not environmentally friendly.”
Furthermore, 89.9% of respondents were willing to pay 5% more for locally grown flowers, and 72.4% of respondents were willing to pay 5% more for flower arrangements made using organically grown flowers. Over half of respondents were willing to pay 10% more for locally grown or organically grown flowers. Younger consumers were more likely to be willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly flowers than older consumers. Consumers over 55 years of age were least likely to consider sustainability when purchasing flowers. Men were slightly more willing than women (68.2% vs. 63.2%) to pay more for environmentally friendly flowers.
A majority of people from racial and ethnic groups and all income levels except those making more than $200,000 per year agreed that they would be willing to pay more. This is good news for independent garden centers, as concern for the environment and a willingness to pay for sustainability is not a niche interest among a small segment of the population but an idea with widespread popularity and acceptance.
With 65% of floral purchases being made in person and 57% of those purchases made at a grocery store, there is an opportunity for independent garden centers to market their environmentally friendly products to these consumers. While independent garden centers typically cannot compete with grocery stores or big box stores on price, they do have more appeal for customers searching for the most sustainable option and are willing to pay a little more to get it.
Not all garden centers sell fresh-cut flowers, but these findings have implications for potted flowers, houseplants, and seeds alike. Consumer preferences do not exist in a vacuum, and when a consumer shows a preference for sustainability in one category, chances are that preference will extend to other categories, or at least to other similar categories. Independent garden centers should use this Floral Marketing Fund study and similar studies to evaluate their inventories and adjust their marketing strategies to further differentiate themselves from competitors focused on price over sustainability.