In 2013, USDA statistics indicate that at the wholesale level, 80% of fresh flowers sold in the United States are not grown in North America, but imported from other countries. Shipping flowers from those countries to the United States incurs large transportation, energy, refrigeration, and storage costs, leaving an enormous carbon footprint. These floral materials may carry residue of chemical pesticides or fungicides. Washington State is among the top ten cut flower producing states in recent years. As competition with international growers has increased the structure of the WA industry has changed resulting in more small-scale producers growing specific flowers that aren’t easily imported. Small-scale cut flower producers are mostly selling their produce directly to consumers. Fresh fruits and vegetables tend to be the most important food categories for products sold at farmers’ markets, which is one of the most popular ways for direct sales to consumers. Cut flowers are also frequently sold directly to consumers, particularly at farmers’ markets. In this study we are using a WA consumer survey to identify factors influencing consumers’ purchase decisions for cut flowers, separating the analyses into flowers purchased for personal use and for a gift. By identifying differences between purchase decision for personal use and for gift can help producers better identify market opportunities and barriers. Results Preliminary results indicate that factors affecting purchases for personal use are not exactly same as those affecting purchases for gift use. Some factors (e.g. age, income and garden ownership) had similar impacts on both types of purchase decisions. Both purchase decisions were positively impacted by the information that the cut flower was grown in Washington. Looking at the differences between the two purchase decisions, we found consumer knowledge about cut flowers affected cut flower purchase decision for personal use but not for gift use. And factors important in the purchase decision for gift use only were gender and education. All else constant, consumers more likely to buy cut flowers for gift use were males, at higher education levels, and who valued variety in cut flowers. However, consumers more likely to buy cut flowers for personal were married, and had correct knowledge about how to keep cut flower last longer.


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