Advertisement
Plant Health 2023

 

Effects of Benefits Messaging on Consumer Purchasing of Plants

Authors:
Melinda J. KnuthHorticultural Science, North Carolina State University, 2721 Founders Drive, Campus Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Search for other papers by Melinda J. Knuth in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close
,
Bridget K. BeheHorticulture, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, Room A-288, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Search for other papers by Bridget K. Behe in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close
,
Alicia RihnAgricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

Search for other papers by Alicia Rihn in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close
, and
Charles R. HallHorticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2133 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2133, USA

Search for other papers by Charles R. Hall in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close

Abstract

An online survey of plant purchasers was conducted to ascertain the influence of plant benefits messaging on consumer behavior. Three plant attributes, including type of plant, price, and plant availability, were used to distinguish purchasing preferences. To assess plant purchasing behavior, participants viewed a list of 12 different plant types and selected those they had purchased in the past year. The 12 plant types included annuals, vegetables, herbs, perennials, flowering shrubs, evergreen shrubs, fruit trees, evergreen trees, shade trees, flowering plants, foliage plants, and succulents. The most common retail locations patronized for plant purchases were home improvement stores, closely followed by independent garden centers. Consumers were grouped according to eight different plant benefit messages that they were exposed to, including physical, emotional, cognitive, social, educational, environmental, financial, and aesthetic benefits. Although some of the groups (clusters) exhibited similar purchasing behaviors in terms of plant types purchased, price levels preferred, and their preference for rare, common, or moderately available plants, there were just enough differences among groups to be able to distinguish them from other groups. The plant benefits were obviously affecting purchasing behavior, but further study is needed to understand the underlying reasons more fully.

Products are composed of diverse attributes, and most marketers acknowledge the different levels of a product from benefits to the actual product itself (Levens 2012). Ford et al. (1988) categorized product-oriented attributes as search attributes (those that can be readily identified before purchase), experience attributes (those that are difficult to evaluate without direct experience), and credence attributes (those that may be unidentifiable even after purchase). Search attributes may include flower color, plant shape, leaf texture, and mature plant dimensions; experience attributes may include flower fragrance or flavor of edible greens; and credence attributes may include sustainable or organic production methods. Furthermore, experience and credence attributes can be considered benefits derived after a product’s purchase. Product benefits are essentially a conversion of product features or attributes into the utility of the product to the consumer. For example, a brown paper bag can function to transport items from one place to another, whereas a branded sustainably sourced leather satchel provides benefits beyond transportation of items (e.g., reusable, sustainable source, aesthetics). Communicating benefits directs consumers’ attention to the “end benefits” of a purchase, whereas communication about product features focuses their attention on search attributes (Hernandez et al. 2015). In other words, the bag may provide benefits by transporting items in an environmentally friendly manner (experience attribute) or with a certain brand (credence attribute). For plants, Zhu et al. (2017) demonstrated that the presence of a plant benefit message on a display sign for a higher priced (compared with low and moderately priced, digitally identical) plant improved purchase intentions.

Given that a product’s benefits influence consumer choice (Meyvis and Janiszewski 2002) and often vary by age (Behe et al. 2022; Gurău 2012), a deeper understanding of the relationship between plant benefit perceptions, consumer behavior, and demographic differences is important when shaping marketing strategies for plants. In the ornamental plant industry, plant benefits are numerous and diverse; however, their influence on consumer behavior and how that varies by age is not well understood. Hall and Knuth (2019a, 2019b, 2019c) summarized the research validating the diversity of plant benefits and identified three major plant benefit themes: emotional and mental health benefits (Hall and Knuth 2019a), physiological or physical exercise benefits (Hall and Knuth 2019b), and social benefits (Hall and Knuth 2019c).

Age influences consumers’ purchases in many industries (Cheny et al. 2017; Gurău 2012) including the ornamental plant industry (Dennis and Behe 2007; Rihn et al. 2011). Age cohorts, unlike chronological age, better reflect the impact of life events on purchasing behavior (Cheny et al. 2017). Baby Boomers, individuals born between 1946 and 1964 (Fry 2020), have been entering retirement (Cheny et al. 2017). They are described as having substantial disposable income, which is attractive to marketers (Cheny et al. 2017). This age cohort buys more floral products than Gen X and Millennials and is often identified as the “core consumer” of plants (Dennis and Behe 2007; Rihn et al. 2011). However, evidence suggests this may be changing, with younger cohorts expressing more interest in gardening and plants (Whitinger and Cohen 2021).

Gen X and Millennials, two distinct and younger age cohorts, have had a substantial influence on the domestic economy (Littrell et al. 2005; Roberts and Manolis 2000). Millennials, 72 million Americans born between 1981 and 1996 (Fry 2020), are the most ethnically and culturally diverse age cohort in the United States; nearly 25% of this age group is African American and 18% is Hispanic (Licsandru and Cui 2019). Generation Z, individuals born after 1996, are also digital natives and heavy users of social media (Dacosta et al. 2013; Thigpen and Tyson 2021). Whitinger and Cohen (2021) reported that youths (classified as persons 18–34 years old) are driving a large portion of the houseplant purchases and make the most online plant purchases of any age group.

Existing literature highlights that consumer demographics influence gardening motivations and interactions with plants. For example, women and more highly educated individuals (across age groups) were more likely to express feeling calmer around plants, whereas younger persons (ages 18–24 years) were less likely to do so (Relf et al. 1992). Dennis and Behe (2007) reported that Baby Boomers were, relatively, the age cohort with the greatest number of plant purchasers. Furthermore, consumers with constrained incomes, specifically those facing economic hardship, were more likely to engage in home gardening (Schupp and Sharp 2012). McFarland et al. (2018) found that for gardening activities, the motivators of food, health, nutrition, and nostalgia were more influential for men, whereas personal productivity, defined as “concepts related to learning while observing, exploring, and the avoidance of wasting time,” was more influential for women. However, men and women have similar perceptions of the therapeutic value of gardening (McFarland et al. 2018). Together, these studies suggest that demographic differences influence the promotional value of different plant benefits depending on the target market of interest.

To date, very few studies have addressed the relationship between plant benefit information and consumer demographics. One exception is Behe et al. (2022), who based their experiment on Beard and Ragheb’s (1980) leisure satisfaction scale, which measured satisfaction with psychological, educational, social, relaxation, physiological, and aesthetic dimensions of leisure activities. The six dimensions measured in the Beard and Ragheb (1980) leisure satisfaction scale aligned with many of the plant benefit categories described by Hall and Knuth (2019a, 2019b, 2019c) with high validity and reliability (Beard and Ragheb 1980). Thus, Behe et al. (2022) adapted the Beard and Ragheb (1980) scales to measure plant benefit perceptions and used the adapted measures in an online survey to determine which benefits were experienced by several age cohorts. Their results showed that the social benefit produced the highest score for Millennials compared with Baby Boomers and Gen X. Other plant benefits were differentially perceived. This evidence of experiencing plant benefits differently suggests that these benefits may influence consumers’ purchasing behavior toward plants and that age may play a role in that behavior.

Another important factor in plant purchasing is the retail outlet where the consumer buys plants. This factor is important because consumers view floriculture crops from different retail outlets differently (Campbell and Campbell 2019; Yue and Behe 2008). For instance, independent garden centers are viewed as having better customer service, more knowledgeable staff, higher-quality products, and more expensive products relative to plants from less specialized retailers (Campbell and Campbell 2019; Yue and Behe 2008). Conversely, home improvement centers and mass merchandisers are viewed as having more competitive prices and/or the lowest priced plants (Campbell and Campbell 2019). Given the perceptual differences between retail outlets, it is important to incorporate retail outlets into marketing research related to ornamental plants.

Because Behe et al. (2022) demonstrated a difference in perceived plant benefits by age cohort, we build on their work and hypothesize that different types of plant benefit information will differentially influence purchase intention by sociodemographic characteristics and purchase location. This study uses an online survey with randomized controlled trials to build on existing literature and to better understand the impact of different types of plant benefits on likelihood to buy, retail outlet choice, and demographic characteristics.

Methodology

An online survey was conducted in May and June of 2022 to assess plant benefit messaging on consumer attitudes and likelihood to buy (LTB). The survey consisted of a conjoint analysis, plant purchasing questions, and demographic characteristics. The survey was constructed using widely accepted market research protocols for speed, accuracy, and human error reduction (Dillman et al. 2009), and was administered using a Toluna, Inc. (Dallas, TX, USA) survey panel, which maintains a panel of several million persons (Cobanoglu et al. 2001; McCullough 1998). Toluna, Inc. recruited individuals ≥18 years of age in the United States. Both the survey instrument and protocol were approved by a university institutional review board (Texas A&M University 2019-1754M Category: Exempt 2).

In the online survey, subjects were asked to rate a series of nine combinations of plant message scenarios in a randomized order to minimize order bias. The nine combinations were selected based on the minimum required combinations recommended by JMP software and had a D-efficiency value of 70.91 (which was greater than other amounts of combinations suggesting optimization). Questions were randomized to prevent ordering effects. Each scenario asked the subject to rate their LTB a plant with the stated attributes on an 11-point Likert scale of 0 (Not Likely at All) to 10 (Very Likely) (11-point scale adopted from Juster 1966). The scenarios included varied levels of three attributes: price ($9.99, $19.99, or $29.99), availability (commonly available, moderately available, or rarely available), and type of plant (flowering, foliage, herb, or succulent) (Table 1). The price points were chosen based on current market values of flowering, foliage, herbs, and succulent plants to clearly define if there is a difference in low, medium, and high prices within these plant categories (Ellison et al. 2016; Soysal and Krishnamurthi 2015).

Table 1.

Conjoint design attributes and levels as part of an online survey of consumers to assess plant benefit messaging on consumer attitudes and likelihood to buy.

Table 1.

Eight plant benefit messages were adapted from Rihn et al. (2022) and Hall and Knuth (2019a, 2019b, 2019c) (Table 2). Messaging regarding the plant benefits were categorized as physical, emotional, cognitive, social, educational, environmental, financial, and aesthetic messages. Psychological benefits are defined as intellectual challenge (i.e., mental illness or disease) and life enjoyment (Beard and Ragheb 1980). Educational benefits are defined as intellectual stimulation and learning about oneself and one’s surroundings (Beard and Ragheb 1980). Social benefits are defined as rewarding relationships with other people (Beard and Ragheb 1980). Physiological benefits are defined as a means to develop physical wellness and physical well-being (Beard and Ragheb 1980). Aesthetic benefits are aspects of a person’s life that are pleasing, interesting, beautiful, and well-designed (Beard and Ragheb 1980). Emotional benefits are defined as the subjectively experienced contribution to the quality of life conveyed; anchor in the world of feelings and experiences contributing to the person’s quality of life (Weinberg 1993). Subjects were randomly assigned to view one of the eight benefits messages (Table 2). To capture all message categories while reducing subject fatigue, a between-subject design was used to compare the effect of each of the messages. Thus, different people tested each condition (benefit messaging), so that each person was only exposed to a single message. From this point forward, each group will simply be referred to by the plant benefit message to which they were exposed. For example, those in the sample who were shown the environmental benefits messaging will simply be referred to as the environment group. To account for and mitigate subject fatigue, we showed nine combinations that were determined using JMP software (Cary, NC, USA) to optimize data collection and analyses.

Table 2.

Study participant instructions and plant benefit definitions as part of an online survey of consumers to assess plant benefit messaging on consumer attitudes and likelihood to buy.

Table 2.

The survey included an assessment of actual plant knowledge. This assessment was adopted from Knuth et al. (2020) and consisted of a 10-item quiz related to plant knowledge. Eight of the questions were multiple choice and two of the questions were true or false.

To ascertain plant purchasing behavior, participants viewed a list of 12 different plant types and selected those they had purchased in the past year. The 12 plant types included annuals, vegetables, herbs, perennials, flowering shrubs, evergreen shrubs, fruit trees, evergreen trees, shade trees, flowering plants, foliage plants, and succulents. The list was based on previous research of the most commonly grown plant types in the United States (Behe et al. 2014; Knuth et al. 2018) and aligned with the plant types used by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in conducting their Census of Horticultural Specialties (USDA-NASS 2020). In addition, participants indicated their plant expenditures and new plant categories purchased in 2021. Last, the sociodemographic questions included age, gender, household income, education level, number of adults and children in the household, and ethnicity.

In addition to the conjoint analysis, an ordinal least squares regression was used to assess the relationship between participants’ 2021 plant expenditures (spending) and participants’ number of plant types purchased, the number of marketing outlets purchased from, existing plant knowledge, the price of the plant, the type of plant, and the availability of the plant.

To maintain statistical power at 80% with an 95% confidence, at least 100 subjects were required a priori. The sample consisted of 1010 useful responses (i.e., complete and valid) with maintained power through the sample pool (Table 3). The conjoint was analyzed in SAS Software (Raleigh, NC, USA) using PROC TRANSREG. The post-conjoint data were analyzed using STATA Software (Version 16.0, College Station, TX, USA).

Table 3.

In an online survey of consumers to assess plant benefit messaging on consumer attitudes and likelihood to buy.

Table 3.

Results and Discussion

Demographics.

When comparing the overall sample to the US population, the median household income, gender ratio, and percentage of White individuals were similar (US Census Bureau 2016–2020) (Table 3). Although statistical comparisons were not possible (because no standard deviations are included in the census data), the overall sample exhibited a higher level of education. For instance, an average of 38.47% of the study participants had achieved a high school diploma and 11.60% had earned an associate’s-level degree in school vs. 89% of the US population that has achieved a high school diploma and 45% that has achieved an associate’s degree. The sample also had a higher percentage of individuals who reported a Hispanic ethnicity (49% vs. 18.5%) than the general population (US Census Bureau 2016–2020). Compared with the average spending for US households on lawn and garden activities ($458.26), the sample spent much less ($134.07) in 2021 (Whitinger and Cohen 2021). This is similar to results in Knuth et al. (2018, 2020) and Wei et al. (2021). Participants purchased an average of 2.54 plants in 2021. This could indicate that the participants are active and interested in purchasing plant products but are doing so in smaller quantities compared with the study of Whitinger and Cohen (2021). Comparisons of demographic characteristics across groups can be found in Supplemental Table 1. Due to the differences across the demographic characteristics, the results should be interpreted cautiously when making generalizations across the US population or among populations that do not align with the study sample.

On average, participants were evenly distributed by location across the United States (22% from the Northeast, 21% from the Midwest, 24% from the Southeast, 13% from the Southwest, 19% from the West) (Table 3). The percentage of participants who made a purchase from each of the plant categories in order from greatest to least frequency was vegetables (15%), annuals (14%), herbs (11%), flowering shrubs (10%), foliage plants (10%), perennials (9%), succulents (8%), fruit trees (7%), evergreen shrubs (6%), shade trees (5%), potted plants (5%), and evergreen trees (4%). The most common retail locations patronized for plant purchases was home improvement stores (15%), closely followed by independent garden centers (14%), supermarkets (11%), Internet/online (10%), mass merchandisers (9%), other (11%), and catalog (6%).

Relative importance.

Overall, the type of plant was most important (36.4% of overall decision) in the purchasing decision of respondents, followed by price (35.1%), and availability (28.4%) (Table 4). Across the different plant benefit messages seen, all of the groups of participants exhibited the same ordering from most important to least important (plant type first, price second, and availability third), except for the group that saw the environmental benefit message; for them, price was ranked first (37%), followed by plant type (36%), and availability last (26%).

Table 4.

Benefit message group rankings of the attributes Price, Availability, and Type by degree of importance (N = 1010) as part of an online survey of consumers to assess plant benefit messaging on consumer attitudes and likelihood to buy.

Table 4.

When considering the role of price specifically, among all the groups, those who saw the environmental benefit message rated price as their most important factor, followed by the groups who saw the educational, physical, emotional, cognitive, aesthetic, and economic plant benefit messages (Table 4). In terms of availability, among the groups, those who saw the cognitive benefit message rated plant availability the highest, followed in order by the groups who saw the education, economic, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and last, the environmental plant benefit message. Regarding plant type, among the groups, those who saw the economic benefit message rated plant type highest, followed by the groups who saw the aesthetic, environmental, social, physical, emotional, cognitive, and educational plant benefit messages, respectively. These results may lend to the interpretation that participants seeing environmental messaging rated price highest, indicating they may be highly price sensitive and take that attribute about the plant product into greater consideration. This result may also have been found because these types of consumers are looking to buy greater quantities of plants for a greater environmental benefit and therefore are highly price sensitive. Meanwhile, those who saw the cognitive message rated availability highest indicating that plant quantity may not be as important to these consumers, but proximity of consumers to the plants (i.e., commonly available to purchase and to buy).

Part-worth values.

Consistent with previous literature, the lower the price, the more the product was preferred (Behe et al. 2010, 2013, 2016; Rihn et al. 2015, 2016) (Table 5). The $9.99 price category was most preferred followed by $19.99 and, last, the $29.99 price level. The educational benefit message group put the most positive emphasis on the $9.99 price level (1.10), whereas the cognitive group put the least positive emphasis (0.66). For the $19.99 price level, some of the benefits message groups (e.g., the physical, social, and educational groups), did not prefer the $19.99 price level (−0.18, −0.41, and −0.38). Interestingly, other benefit message groups (although they preferred $9.99 over $19.99) still stated some level of positive preference for the $19.99 price level. The breakdown of the benefits messaging groups in order of the importance of the lower of the three pricing levels was as follows: Emotional (0.03), cognitive (0.25), aesthetic (0.05), economic (0.18), and environmental (0.44). Five of the benefit message groups had a negative preference for the $29.99 price (i.e., no differences were observed between the groups’ preferences). In addition, the coefficient in front of the two price levels is positive, indicating that as prices increase, spending increases too, but at a diminishing rate. This is because as the price increases, demand decreases.

Table 5.

Relative importance and part-worth utility values for eight benefits messages derived from an online consumer behavior study regarding plant purchases on the attributes price, availability, and type of plant.

Table 5.

Overall, commonly available plants were more preferred than moderately available (0.03) and rare plants (−0.13). All the benefits message groups had a positive preference for the commonly available plant level (i.e., no differences were observed between the groups’ preferences). For moderately available plants, the cognitive benefits message group had the highest preference (0.48) followed by the environmental group (0.42). Conversely, and interestingly, the social and educational benefits message groups had a negative preference for the moderately available plants (−0.55 and −0.36).

Contrary to the other benefits message groups, the economic benefits message group preferred the moderately available plants (0.10) the most, followed by commonly available (0.05) and, last, rarely available plants (−0.16). This preference ordering was also true for the environmental benefits message group. However, the educational message group preferred rare plants the most (0.24), followed by commonly available plants (0.12).

For plant types, the sample ranked flowering plants as most preferred (0.33) followed by foliage plants (0.11), succulents (−0.21), and herbs (−0.22) (Table 4). All the benefits groups followed this order of preference for the plant types except for the cognitive, aesthetic, and economic groups, which ordered the plant types as foliage before flowering. The social benefits message group had the greatest preference for flowering plants (0.56) followed by the educational (0.52) and emotional (0.47) groups. The economics benefits group had the least preference for the flowering plant level (0.07). For the foliage plant level, the cognitive, aesthetic, and economic benefits message groups had the greatest preference for foliage plants (0.25, 0.32, and 0.29), whereas the emotional and educational benefits messaging groups had the least preference for foliage plants (0.01 and −0.07).

The social and educational groups ranked herbs the least important of the types of plants (−0.72 and −0.43). They purchased low amounts of herbs as compared with the other benefit groups and they had very low amounts of new purchases to the herb category in 2021. When comparing the total herbs purchased and new purchases made across groups, there were no differences (Table 6). Their purchasing behavior matches their lack of interest when compared with the other categories. They were no different from the other benefits groups in their location of purchasing (Table 1) or in their spending (Table 6). This may indicate that consumers may have shifted preferences to vegetable transplants, or they may be substituting fresh-cut herbs at the grocery stores instead of purchasing the live plants. This same behavior is observed with total succulent purchasing and new succulent purchasing across benefits messaging groups. There may have been a shift in purchasing during COVID-19 because of oversaturation in the market, similar to the “cash for clunkers” program in 2008, a US government program that provided financial incentives to car owners to trade in their old, less fuel-efficient vehicles and buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. An unintended consequence of this program is that it shifted automobile purchases forward in time, then the industry experienced a lull in sales for several years afterward. Perhaps this same phenomenon is being experienced by herbs and succulents in that the sheltering in place stimulated and brought forward purchases in time. Regardless, the lack of interest in these plant categories by the respondents warrants further research into the consumer decision-making process. It must be noted in this analysis that low interest in this analysis is relative to the other attribute levels mentioned and not a general decline in purchasing seen in the marketplace.

Table 6.

Herb and succulent purchasing in 2021 for each of the eight benefits groups as determined by an online consumer study of plant purchasing behavior.

Table 6.

Regression.

Spending in 2021 was influenced by the number of plant types purchased, the number of marketing outlets purchased from, actual plant knowledge, the price of the plant, the type of plant, and the availability of the plant (Table 7). Overall, as compared with commonly available plants, rarely available plants had slightly positive influences on spending in 2021. Plants that were moderately available had no effect. The more plant categories and number of outlets that the subject purchased from, the more spending they exhibited in 2021. As the price of the plant increased, spending increased relative to the lowest price point ($9.99) but at a decreasing rate (as expected with normal goods), as seen with the decreasing coefficients in Table 7. The preference for herbs had no effect on spending, whereas foliage and succulent plants had a small effect (coefficients = 1.485 and 2.029). Women were more likely than men to spend more in 2021 (coefficient = 7.330), whereas income had almost no effect. The younger the consumer, the more likely they were to spend more in 2021 on plants (coefficient = −0.486). The level of education had a small effect as well, with the higher the education level the more likely they were to spend in 2021 (coefficient = 1.044). Ethnicity had a large effect. White consumers were more likely to spend more in 2021 on plants than other ethnicities (coefficient = 29.876).

Table 7.

Regression estimates assessing the impact of plant product availability, plant types, and knowledge level on consumers’ 2021 plant spending in the presence of plant benefit messages from an online consumer behavior study.

Table 7.

Conclusions

Previous (aforementioned) research by the author team has demonstrated a difference in perceived plant benefits by age cohort. We build on this work and hypothesize that different types of plant benefit information will differentially influence purchase intention by sociodemographic characteristics. We tested this hypothesis via an online survey to better understand the impact that the knowledge of different types of plant benefits has on LTB, retail outlet choice, and demographic characteristics of plant consumers.

The most common retail locations patronized for plant purchases included, in rank order, home improvement stores, closely followed by independent garden centers, then supermarkets, Internet/online, mass merchandisers, and catalog sales. Although respondents indicated that they purchase from a broad palette of plant categories, their most popular choices included vegetables, annuals, herbs, flowering shrubs, foliage plants, and perennials.

For the first time in the literature, consumers were clustered according to the types of plant benefits they were shown, but not necessarily the benefits that would have resonated with them the most, to glean any potential differences that might exist between groups. Although some of the groups exhibited similar purchasing behaviors in terms of plant types purchased, price levels preferred, and their preference for rare, common, or moderately available plants, there were just enough differences among groups to be able to distinguish them from other groups. The plant benefits were obviously affecting purchasing behavior, but further study is needed to understand the underlying reasons more fully. For example, consistent with previous literature, the lower the price, the more the product was preferred, although there were some interesting differences among the various groups to conjecture that their inelasticity of demand was being affected by the messaging, although it is too early to ascertain the nuances of this behavior (Behe et al. 2022). Future studies could build on the current research to address this question, along with information related to existing knowledge and variance when given specific plant types.

References Cited

  • Beard, JG & Ragheb, MG 1980 Measuring leisure satisfaction J Leis Res. 12 1 20 33 https://doi.org/10.1080/00222216.1980.11969416

  • Behe, BK, Huddleston, PT & Hall, CR 2022 Gardening motivations of U.S. plant purchasers during the COVID-19 pandemic J Environ Hortic. 40 1 10 17 https://doi.org/10.24266/0738-2898-40

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Huddleston, PT & Sage, L 2016 Age cohort influences brand recognition, awareness, likelihood to buy vegetable herb transplants HortScience. 51 145 151 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.51.2.145

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Campbell, BL, Hall, CR, Khachatryan, H, Dennis, JH, Fernandez, RT & Huddleston, PT 2014 Incorporating eye tracking technology and conjoint analysis to better understand the green industry consumer HortScience. 49 1550 1557

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Campbell, BL, Hall, CR, Khachatryan, H, Dennis, JH & Yue, C 2013 Consumer preferences for local and sustainable plant production characteristics HortScience. 48 209 215 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.49.12.1550

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Campbell, BL, Dennis, J, Hall, C, Lopez, R & Yue, C 2010 Gardening consumer segments vary in ecopractices HortScience. 45 1475 1479 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.45.10.1475

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Campbell, JH & Campbell, BL 2019 Consumer perceptions of green industry retailers HortTechnology. 29 213 222 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04205-18

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cheny, D, Touzani, M & Slimane, KB 2017 Marketing to the (new) generations: Summary and perspectives J Strateg Market. 25 3 179 189 https://doi.org/10.1080/0965254X.2017.1291173

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cobanoglu, C, Warde, B & Moreo, PJ 2001 A comparison of mail, fax and web-survey methods Intl J Market Res. 43 4 441 452

  • Dacosta, B, Kinsell, C & Nasah, A 2013 Millennials are digital natives? An investigation into digital propensity and age 103 119 I. Management Association Digital literacy: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. IGI Global Hershey, PA, USA https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-4666-1852-7.ch006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dennis, JH & Behe, BK 2007 Evaluating the role of ethnicity on gardening purchases and satisfaction HortScience. 42 262 266 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.42.2.262

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dillman, D, Smyth, J & Christian, L 2009 Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored design method John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ellison, B, Duff, BRL, Wang, Z & White, TB 2016 Putting the organic label in context: Examining the interactions between the organic label, product type, and retail outlet Food Qual Prefer. 49 140 150

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ford, GT, Smith, DB & Swasy, JL 1988 An empirical test of the search, experience and credence attributes framework. Adv Cons Res. 15 1 239 243

  • Fry, R 2020 Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/28/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers-as-americas-largest-generation/. [accessed 15 Jul 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gurău, C 2012 A life-stage analysis of consumer loyalty profile: Comparing Generation X and Millennial consumers J Cons Market. 29 2 103 113 https://doi.org/10.1108/07363761211206357

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hernandez, J, Wright, SA & Rodrigues, FF 2015 Attributes versus benefits: The role of construal levels and appeal type on the persuasiveness of marketing messages J Advert. 44 3 243 253

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, C & Knuth, M 2019a An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: A review of the emotional and mental health benefits of plants J Environ Hortic. 37 1 30 38

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, C & Knuth, M 2019b An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: Part 2 — Physiological health benefits J Environ Hortic. 37 2 63 73

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, C & Knuth, M 2019c An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: Part 3 — Social benefits J Environ Hortic. 37 4 136 142

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Juster, FT 1966 Front matter, consumer buying intentions and purchase probability 8-0 Juster, FT Consumer buying intentions and purchase probability: An experiment in survey design. National Bureau of Economic Research Cambridge, MA, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levens, M 2012 Marketing: Defined, explained, applied 2nd ed. Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA

  • Knuth, M, Behe, BK, Huddleston, P, Hall, C, Fernandez, R & Khachatryan, H 2020 Water conserving messages influence consumer plant purchase intentions Water. 12 12 3487 https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123487

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knuth, M, Behe, BK, Hall, CR, Fernandez, RT & Huddleston, PT 2018 Consumer perceptions of landscape plant production water sources and uses in the landscape during perceived and real drought HortTechnology. 28 85 93 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH03893-17

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Licsandru, TC & Cui, CC 2019 Ethnic marketing to the global Millennial consumers: Challenges and opportunities J Bus Res. 103 Oct 261 274

  • Littrell, MA, Ma, YJ & Halepete, J 2005 Generation X, baby boomers, and swing: Marketing fair trade apparel J Fashion Market Manag. 9 407 419

  • McCullough, D 1998 Web-based market research: The dawning of a new age Direct Market. 61 9 36 38

  • McFarland, A, Waliczek, TM, Ethredge, C & Lillard, AJS 2018 Understanding motivations for gardening using a qualitative general inductive approach HortTechnology. 28 289 295

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Meyvis, T & Janiszewski, C 2002 Consumers’ beliefs about product benefits: The effect of obviously irrelevant product information J Consum Res. 28 4 618 635 https://doi.org/10.1086/338205

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Relf, D, McDaniel, AR & Butterfield, B 1992 Attitudes toward plants and gardening HortTechnology. 2 201 204 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.2.2.201

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, A, Khachatryan, H, Campbell, B, Behe, B & Hall, C 2015 Consumer response to novel indoor foliage plant attributes: Evidence from a conjoint experiment and gaze analysis HortScience. 50 1524 1530 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.50.10.1524

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, A, Khachatryan, H, Campbell, B, Hall, C & Behe, B 2016 Consumer preferences for organic production methods and origin promotions on ornamental plants: Evidence from eye-tracking experiments Agric Econ. 47 6 599 608

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, A, Yue, C, Behe, B & Hall, C 2011 Generations X and Y attitudes toward fresh flowers as gifts: Implications for the floral industry HortScience. 46 736 743 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.46.5.736

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, AL, Behe, B, Hall, CR & Huddleston, PT 2022 How does visual attendance to plant attributes influence choice behavior? International Society of Horticultural Sciences’ International Horticulture Congress (IHC) 14–20 Aug 2022 Angers, France

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roberts, J & Manolis, C 2000 Baby Boomers and busters: An exploratory investigation of attitudes toward marketing, advertising and consumerism J Consum Market. 17 481 497 https://doi.org/10.1108/07363760010349911

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schupp, J & Sharp, J 2012 Exploring the social bases of home gardening Agric Human Values. 29 1 93 105 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-011-9321-2

  • Soysal, G & Krishnamurthi, L 2015 How does adoption of the outlet channel impact consumer spending on the retail stores: Conflict or synergy? Manage Sci. 62 9 2692 2704

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thigpen, CL & Tyson, A 2021 On social media, Gen Z and Millennial adults interact more with climate change content than older generations https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/21/on-social-media-gen-z-and-millennial-adults-interact-more-with-climate-change-content-than-older-generations

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • US Census Bureau 2016–2020 American Community Survey 5-year estimates Unnumbered. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/FL/EDU685219

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • USDA, NASS 2020 Census of Agriculture - Census of Horticultural Specialties 2019 https://www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus/index.php. [accessed 10 Jun 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wei, X, Khachatryan, H & Rihn, A 2021 Estimating willingness-to-pay for neonicotinoid-free plants: Incorporating pro-environmental behavior in hypothetical and non-hypothetical experiments PLoS One. 16 5 e0251798

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Weinberg, P 1993 Cross cultural aspects of emotional benefit strategies 84 85 Van Raaij, WF & Bamossy, GJ E - European advances in consumer research. Vol 1 Association for Consumer Research Duluth MN, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Whitinger, D & Cohen, P 2021 National gardening survey: 2020 edition: What gardeners think National Gardening Assoc. Burlington, VT, USA

  • Yue, C & Behe, B 2008 Estimating U.S. consumers’ choice of floral retail outlets HortScience. 43 764 769 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.43.3.764

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhu, Z, Behe, B, Huddleston, P & Sage, L 2017 How do pricing and the representation of price affect consumer evaluation of nursery products? A conjoint analysis Int Food Agribus Manag Rev. 20 4 477 491 https://doi.org/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Supplemental Table 1.

Demographic characteristics of total online survey sample and for sub-samples of participants viewing one of the eight plant benefit messages.

Supplemental Table 1.
Supplemental Table 1.
  • Beard, JG & Ragheb, MG 1980 Measuring leisure satisfaction J Leis Res. 12 1 20 33 https://doi.org/10.1080/00222216.1980.11969416

  • Behe, BK, Huddleston, PT & Hall, CR 2022 Gardening motivations of U.S. plant purchasers during the COVID-19 pandemic J Environ Hortic. 40 1 10 17 https://doi.org/10.24266/0738-2898-40

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Huddleston, PT & Sage, L 2016 Age cohort influences brand recognition, awareness, likelihood to buy vegetable herb transplants HortScience. 51 145 151 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.51.2.145

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Campbell, BL, Hall, CR, Khachatryan, H, Dennis, JH, Fernandez, RT & Huddleston, PT 2014 Incorporating eye tracking technology and conjoint analysis to better understand the green industry consumer HortScience. 49 1550 1557

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Campbell, BL, Hall, CR, Khachatryan, H, Dennis, JH & Yue, C 2013 Consumer preferences for local and sustainable plant production characteristics HortScience. 48 209 215 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.49.12.1550

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Behe, BK, Campbell, BL, Dennis, J, Hall, C, Lopez, R & Yue, C 2010 Gardening consumer segments vary in ecopractices HortScience. 45 1475 1479 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.45.10.1475

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Campbell, JH & Campbell, BL 2019 Consumer perceptions of green industry retailers HortTechnology. 29 213 222 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04205-18

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cheny, D, Touzani, M & Slimane, KB 2017 Marketing to the (new) generations: Summary and perspectives J Strateg Market. 25 3 179 189 https://doi.org/10.1080/0965254X.2017.1291173

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cobanoglu, C, Warde, B & Moreo, PJ 2001 A comparison of mail, fax and web-survey methods Intl J Market Res. 43 4 441 452

  • Dacosta, B, Kinsell, C & Nasah, A 2013 Millennials are digital natives? An investigation into digital propensity and age 103 119 I. Management Association Digital literacy: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. IGI Global Hershey, PA, USA https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-4666-1852-7.ch006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dennis, JH & Behe, BK 2007 Evaluating the role of ethnicity on gardening purchases and satisfaction HortScience. 42 262 266 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.42.2.262

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dillman, D, Smyth, J & Christian, L 2009 Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored design method John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ellison, B, Duff, BRL, Wang, Z & White, TB 2016 Putting the organic label in context: Examining the interactions between the organic label, product type, and retail outlet Food Qual Prefer. 49 140 150

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ford, GT, Smith, DB & Swasy, JL 1988 An empirical test of the search, experience and credence attributes framework. Adv Cons Res. 15 1 239 243

  • Fry, R 2020 Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/28/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers-as-americas-largest-generation/. [accessed 15 Jul 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gurău, C 2012 A life-stage analysis of consumer loyalty profile: Comparing Generation X and Millennial consumers J Cons Market. 29 2 103 113 https://doi.org/10.1108/07363761211206357

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hernandez, J, Wright, SA & Rodrigues, FF 2015 Attributes versus benefits: The role of construal levels and appeal type on the persuasiveness of marketing messages J Advert. 44 3 243 253

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, C & Knuth, M 2019a An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: A review of the emotional and mental health benefits of plants J Environ Hortic. 37 1 30 38

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, C & Knuth, M 2019b An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: Part 2 — Physiological health benefits J Environ Hortic. 37 2 63 73

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, C & Knuth, M 2019c An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: Part 3 — Social benefits J Environ Hortic. 37 4 136 142

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Juster, FT 1966 Front matter, consumer buying intentions and purchase probability 8-0 Juster, FT Consumer buying intentions and purchase probability: An experiment in survey design. National Bureau of Economic Research Cambridge, MA, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levens, M 2012 Marketing: Defined, explained, applied 2nd ed. Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA

  • Knuth, M, Behe, BK, Huddleston, P, Hall, C, Fernandez, R & Khachatryan, H 2020 Water conserving messages influence consumer plant purchase intentions Water. 12 12 3487 https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123487

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knuth, M, Behe, BK, Hall, CR, Fernandez, RT & Huddleston, PT 2018 Consumer perceptions of landscape plant production water sources and uses in the landscape during perceived and real drought HortTechnology. 28 85 93 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH03893-17

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Licsandru, TC & Cui, CC 2019 Ethnic marketing to the global Millennial consumers: Challenges and opportunities J Bus Res. 103 Oct 261 274

  • Littrell, MA, Ma, YJ & Halepete, J 2005 Generation X, baby boomers, and swing: Marketing fair trade apparel J Fashion Market Manag. 9 407 419

  • McCullough, D 1998 Web-based market research: The dawning of a new age Direct Market. 61 9 36 38

  • McFarland, A, Waliczek, TM, Ethredge, C & Lillard, AJS 2018 Understanding motivations for gardening using a qualitative general inductive approach HortTechnology. 28 289 295

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Meyvis, T & Janiszewski, C 2002 Consumers’ beliefs about product benefits: The effect of obviously irrelevant product information J Consum Res. 28 4 618 635 https://doi.org/10.1086/338205

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Relf, D, McDaniel, AR & Butterfield, B 1992 Attitudes toward plants and gardening HortTechnology. 2 201 204 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.2.2.201

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, A, Khachatryan, H, Campbell, B, Behe, B & Hall, C 2015 Consumer response to novel indoor foliage plant attributes: Evidence from a conjoint experiment and gaze analysis HortScience. 50 1524 1530 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.50.10.1524

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, A, Khachatryan, H, Campbell, B, Hall, C & Behe, B 2016 Consumer preferences for organic production methods and origin promotions on ornamental plants: Evidence from eye-tracking experiments Agric Econ. 47 6 599 608

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, A, Yue, C, Behe, B & Hall, C 2011 Generations X and Y attitudes toward fresh flowers as gifts: Implications for the floral industry HortScience. 46 736 743 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.46.5.736

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rihn, AL, Behe, B, Hall, CR & Huddleston, PT 2022 How does visual attendance to plant attributes influence choice behavior? International Society of Horticultural Sciences’ International Horticulture Congress (IHC) 14–20 Aug 2022 Angers, France

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roberts, J & Manolis, C 2000 Baby Boomers and busters: An exploratory investigation of attitudes toward marketing, advertising and consumerism J Consum Market. 17 481 497 https://doi.org/10.1108/07363760010349911

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schupp, J & Sharp, J 2012 Exploring the social bases of home gardening Agric Human Values. 29 1 93 105 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-011-9321-2

  • Soysal, G & Krishnamurthi, L 2015 How does adoption of the outlet channel impact consumer spending on the retail stores: Conflict or synergy? Manage Sci. 62 9 2692 2704

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thigpen, CL & Tyson, A 2021 On social media, Gen Z and Millennial adults interact more with climate change content than older generations https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/21/on-social-media-gen-z-and-millennial-adults-interact-more-with-climate-change-content-than-older-generations

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • US Census Bureau 2016–2020 American Community Survey 5-year estimates Unnumbered. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/FL/EDU685219

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • USDA, NASS 2020 Census of Agriculture - Census of Horticultural Specialties 2019 https://www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus/index.php. [accessed 10 Jun 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wei, X, Khachatryan, H & Rihn, A 2021 Estimating willingness-to-pay for neonicotinoid-free plants: Incorporating pro-environmental behavior in hypothetical and non-hypothetical experiments PLoS One. 16 5 e0251798

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Weinberg, P 1993 Cross cultural aspects of emotional benefit strategies 84 85 Van Raaij, WF & Bamossy, GJ E - European advances in consumer research. Vol 1 Association for Consumer Research Duluth MN, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Whitinger, D & Cohen, P 2021 National gardening survey: 2020 edition: What gardeners think National Gardening Assoc. Burlington, VT, USA

  • Yue, C & Behe, B 2008 Estimating U.S. consumers’ choice of floral retail outlets HortScience. 43 764 769 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.43.3.764

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhu, Z, Behe, B, Huddleston, P & Sage, L 2017 How do pricing and the representation of price affect consumer evaluation of nursery products? A conjoint analysis Int Food Agribus Manag Rev. 20 4 477 491 https://doi.org/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Melinda J. KnuthHorticultural Science, North Carolina State University, 2721 Founders Drive, Campus Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Search for other papers by Melinda J. Knuth in
Google Scholar
Close
,
Bridget K. BeheHorticulture, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, Room A-288, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Search for other papers by Bridget K. Behe in
Google Scholar
Close
,
Alicia RihnAgricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

Search for other papers by Alicia Rihn in
Google Scholar
Close
, and
Charles R. HallHorticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2133 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2133, USA

Search for other papers by Charles R. Hall in
Google Scholar
Close

Contributor Notes

This article was supported by a grant from the Floriculture and Nursery Crops Research Initiative and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

M.J.K. is the corresponding author. E-mail: melindaknuth@ncsu.edu.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 467 467 82
PDF Downloads 384 384 69
Save