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Bridget Behe, Robert Nelson, Susan Barton, Charles Hall, Charles D. Safley, and Steven Turner

Researchers often investigate consumer preferences by examining variables consecutively, rather than simultaneously. Conjoint analysis facilitates simultaneous investigation of multiple variables. Cluster analysis facilitates development of actionable market segments. Our objective was to identify relative importance and consumer preferences for flower color, leaf variegation, and price of geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bail.) and to identify several actionable market segments. We also evaluated the desirability of a hypothetical blue geranium. Photographic images were digitized and manipulated to produce plants similar in flower area, but varying in flower color (red, lavender, pink, white, and blue), leaf variegation (plain green, dark green zone, and white zone), and price ($1.39 to $2.79). Conjoint analysis revealed that flower color was the primary consideration in the purchase decision, followed by leaf variegation and price. A cluster analysis that excluded blue geraniums yielded four actionable consumer segments. When preferences for the blue geranium were included, six consumer segments were identified.

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Mark H. Brand and Robert L. Leonard

Survey data from 788 single-family residences from New England were analyzed to evaluate purchasing preferences and gardening habits. Particular attention was focused on plant attributes and choices of independent garden centers vs. mass merchandisers. Independent garden centers, magazines, and friends were the most important sources of gardening information, while mass merchandisers were relatively unimportant information sources. While consumers trusted information received at independent garden centers, they did not trust mass merchandiser information as much. The most important product and service attributes of retail establishments were well-maintained plants, informative signage, knowledgeable staff, and a wide selection of plant material. Gardening chemicals and fertilizers were purchased at mass merchandisers due to price. Consumers preferred to purchase high-value, long-lived plants (trees and shrubs) at independent garden centers due to higher plant quality and access to knowledgeable staff. When making plant purchases, plant appearance was the most important consideration regardless of whether the plant was an annual, perennial, or woody plant. The presence of flowers on plants was not ranked as influential in making purchase selections, but evidence of new growth, the presence of dark green foliage, and knowledge of a northern-grown source were important. For trees and shrubs, the significance of a plant guarantee and knowledge of a northern-grown source increased in importance in comparison to annuals and perennials.

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Gwendolyn Hawkins, Stephanie E. Burnett, and Lois B. Stack

In 2008, we administered a survey to participants at four venues in Maine to determine: 1) the degree of interest in organically, sustainably, and locally grown plants; 2) whether respondents would pay more for these plants compared with conventional plants; and 3) which demographic groups expressed the greatest interest in organically, sustainably, or locally grown plants. Respondents were highly interested in organic and sustainable vegetable/herb and ornamental plants; median interest was 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 indicated low interest and 10 indicated high interest. They were less interested in locally grown plants; respondents’ median interest in local plants was 6 on the same scale. Survey respondents stated that they would pay 15% more (vegetable/herbs) or 10% more (ornamentals) for organic, sustainable, or local plants than they would for conventionally grown plants. Several demographic factors indicated that respondents were either willing to spend more money on nonconventional plants, or were at least more interested in these kinds of plants. Income and education were positively correlated with the amount of money respondents stated they would spend on nonconventional plants. Younger participants were more interested than older participants in sustainable and organic plants, but they were not willing to pay more for these plants than older participants. Similarly, women were more interested than men in nonconventional plants, but were not likely to spend more on them than men. This survey indicated that there is a strong market for organic and sustainable vegetable, herb, and ornamental plants. Growers could potentially charge 10% to 15% more for these plants than for conventionally grown plants. They would likely receive the highest premium for organic and sustainable plants from individuals with higher incomes and education levels.

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Alba J. Collart, Marco A. Palma, and Charles R. Hall

-sponsored marketing program in New Jersey, in terms of the program's awareness. As a result of the econometric analysis, the authors were able to provide a comprehensive study of the consumers' behavioral attitudes and demographic profiles. The results of this study

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Togo M. Traore, Deacue Fields, Floyd M. Woods, Amy N. Wright, Kenneth M. Tilt, Weidong Ke, and Yiman Liu

and are the primary household shoppers. Understanding consumer behavior and preferences can aid in the development of potentially sustainable niche markets of locally cultivated fresh nutritious edible lotus rhizomes. In terms of domestic market

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Yen-Chun Lai and Li-Chun Huang

al., 1999 ). Even though purchasing flowers as a gift is important, consumer behavior related to this action has rarely been the focus of academic studies. This study is intended to address this deficiency. When purchasing flowers as gifts, consumers

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Esther McGinnis, Alicia Rihn, Natalie Bumgarner, Sarada Krishnan, Jourdan Cole, Casey Sclar, and Hayk Khachatryan

, sustainable, local, green, urban agriculture, and succulent. More consumer behavior research is needed in this area to identify attractive terminology for millennials. Social media outreach Jourdan Cole, Account Executive for Garden Media Group, noted that CH

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Li-Chun Huang and Tzu-Fang Yeh

the higher educated. However, several evidences show that the samples are valid for the investigation of consumer behavior in the floral market. For example, the statistical report from the Society of American Florists indicates that females comprise

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Chris Frank, Eric Simonne, Robert Nelson, Amarat Simonne, and Bridget Behe

Most bell peppers produced and consumed in the United States are green in color. However, red, yellow, orange, brown, white, black, and purple bell pepper are also available. While bell pepper consumption has been increasing in the past 10 years, limited information is available on how color, retail price, and vitamin C influence consumer behavior. A conjoint analysis of 436 consumer responses showed that color (75%) and retail price (23%) were more important than vitamin C (3%) in shaping consumer purchase decision. Six consumer segments were identified. Segments II to V preferred green bell pepper, while segments I and VI favored the orange and brown color, respectively. Demographic variables were not good predictors of segment membership. However, previous purchases of bell pepper significantly affected the probability of membership in at least one segment. These results suggest that while green is the preferred color, a market exists for orange, red, and yellow peppers. Results on price sensitivity suggest that profits at the retail level are likely to increase by increasing the price of green peppers, and decresing that of the colored ones.

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Sheri Dorn, Lucy Bradley, Debbie Hamrick, Julie Weisenhorn, Pam Bennett, Jill Callabro, Bridget Behe, Ellen Bauske, and Natalie Bumgarner

The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) is a diverse consortium of leaders who provide a unified voice for promoting the benefits and value of consumer horticulture (CH). NICH endeavors to unite national research efforts with the goals of the diverse stakeholders in the industry, the public sector, and the gardening public in an effort to advance knowledge and increase benefits and application of horticulture for cultivating a healthy world through landscapes, gardens, and plants, and an improved quality of life. Benefits of CH are broadly applicable, whether economic, environmental, or community- and health-related. A benefits approach to marketing sets the stage for unprecedented collaboration, such as that demonstrated by NICH. NICH members have developed three broad goals: recognizing CH as a driver of the agricultural economy; highlighting that CH restores, protects, and conserves natural resources through research and education; and cultivating healthy, connected, and engaged communities through CH. Three NICH committees (Economic, Environmental, and Community and Health Benefits) have focused their efforts on NICH goals for the past 10 months. The three committee chairs, representing ≈30 committee members, presented the results of their efforts and future directions for their committees. The Economic and Environmental committees have proceeded with campaigns to better market CH by promoting the benefits of plants and to increase environmental benefits by changing consumer behavior. After reviewing current research, the Community and Health Benefits Committee suggested that a gap exists in research related to specific benefits of CH and personal gardening (as opposed to benefits accrued by enjoying forests, horticulture therapy, indoor atriums, community gardens, parks, and other public places). The committee suggested that overcoming this gap requires strategic collaboration of skill and expertise from a more diverse group of industry representatives, specialists, and scientists. This approach has tremendous potential to affect the CH marketplace, especially when drawing multiple sources of value from the products and experiences.