Understanding preferences of German flower consumers: the desire for sustained beauty

Meike Rombach, Nicole Widmar, Elizabeth Byrd, Vera Bitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide insights for flower retailers, horticultural practitioners and marketing managers into the prioritisation of cut flower attributes by German residents. Design/methodology/approach: Applying a best–worst scaling approach, this analysis identified the relative ranking of importance amongst product attributes relevant to German consumers when buying fresh cut flowers. A latent class analysis determined four flower consumer segments for further study. The study builds on a sample of 978 consumers and is consistent with the most recent German census in terms of age, gender, income and federal state. Findings: The best-worst analysis showed that intrinsic flower attributes, in particular appearance, freshness and scent were found to be more important to German consumers than the extrinsic attributes studied, namely, price, country of origin and a certification indicating fair trade. The latent class analysis determined four consumer segments that desire either budget, luxury or ethical flowers or more information about flowers. For all identified consumer segments, appearance was the attribute of greatest importance. The segments that desired luxury or ethical flowers, as well as the segment that desires more information were interested in appearance, but also had relatively large shares of preferences dedicated to flower freshness guarantees. The preference for freshness guarantees in addition to appearance may be interpreted jointly as a desire for not only beautiful and aesthetically pleasing flowers, but for sustained beauty. Originality/value: Internationally, the study fills a research gap by exploring consumer’s relative preference for cut flower attributes. In contrast to existing studies on consumer preferences for flowers in Germany, the present study builds on a sample that was targeted in terms of age, gender, net household income and federal state to the most recent German census.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-576
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - 11 Jul 2018


  • Best-worst scaling
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower marketing
  • Latent class analysis


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