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Bridget K. Behe

Michigan fresh asparagus marketers were interested in profiling asparagus consumers in the Northeast and Midwest with regard to preferences, purchases, preparation, and consumption. A computer-assisted survey was conducted with a total of 1126 respondents representative of the population on average in 12 selected states in the Northeast and Midwest. Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume three servings of vegetables daily, on average over the 2 weeks before taking the survey, 62% did not. Only 39% of the persons in the sample ate fresh asparagus in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Twenty-five percent ate it steamed on the stovetop. The conjoint analysis accounted for 63% of the variance in asparagus preference with attribute relative importance decreasing from price (42.0%), to brand (29.9%), to spear diameter (23.5%), to spear segment (4.6%). Light users consumed fresh asparagus at least once in the 4 weeks before the survey, during the peak fresh asparagus season. The potential to increase consumption in this large group (28% of the sample but 71% of asparagus consumers) is tremendous. They placed high relative importance on price per pound and will likely be the more price-sensitive group. If their consumption can be increased by one more asparagus consumption event per month, it could increase asparagus demand by 14%. Results show there is good market potential for a prepackaged fresh asparagus product in the Northeast and Midwest.

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Bridget K. Behe

Firms have limited resources that cannot be allocated efficiently to the market as a whole, but can be targeted to selected customer groups. Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct customer components. Selected products and services that best meet the needs of a selected customer group are targeted to that particular segment in a marketing strategy. Market segmentation and product-targeting concepts help management efficiently allocate scarce resources as part of a comprehensive strategy to expand revenues and profits.

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Bridget K. Behe

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Chengyan Yue and Bridget K. Behe

Flower color is a dominant attribute of fresh flowers, likely playing a key role in purchase preference. Several prior studies showed flower color preference differed by gender, but other information on color preferences is sparse. Data for this study were collected by the Ipsos-National Panel Diary Group for the American Floral Endowment, which maintained an extensive panel of consumer transactions from 1992 to 2005, including floral purchases. Multinomial logit analysis of single-stem cut flower purchases showed that men and women differed in their cut flower color preferences but that flower color preference also varied with demographic characteristics and by occasion. We grouped colors into six categories: BluePurple, RedBronze, PeachPink, White, Yellow, and Other. The highest percentage of flowers purchased were RedBronze (34%), whereas the lowest percentage of flowers were Yellow (10.01%) with Other flower colors accounting for less than 5% of purchases. Although women used a more diverse color palette, both men and women were more likely to buy RedBronze flowers for an anniversary and buy PeachPink flowers for Mother's Day. Between 1992 and 2005, women were less likely to purchase PeachPink flowers and men were less likely to purchase RedBronze over time. Overall demand for BluePurple and Yellow flower colors increased over time, whereas the demand for other color categories decreased over time.

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Chengyan Yue and Bridget K. Behe

Competition among floral retailers has promulgated industrywide structural changes while giving consumers more choices in locations for purchase. Consumer panel data collected by the American Floral Endowment from 1992 to 2005 were used to evaluate consumers' choice of different floral retail outlets among box stores (BS), traditional freestanding floral outlets (TF), general retailer (GR), other stores (OS), and direct-to-consumer (DC) channels. Since 1992, market share and percentage of transactions decreased through TF but increased for BS. Mean expenditure per transaction in TF was higher than in BS and GR. Consumers who made floral gift purchases were more likely to patronize TF, but those who bought floral products for themselves were more likely to purchase from BS. Consumers patronizing TF or DC were more likely to buy arranged flowers rather than unarranged flowers. Consumers who purchased foliage plants and outdoor bedding or garden plants were more likely to buy them from BS. Reasons consumers who choose BS and GR cited for using those outlets included convenience and lower prices, whereas consumers who purchased from TF and DC cited delivery, reputation, and service as major drivers impacting their use. Demographic and geographic differences were also identified among consumers using the aforementioned outlets.

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Jennifer H. Dennis and Bridget K. Behe

As the diversity of the American population increases, so should efforts to understand gardening behavior of different subcultures. Businesses need this information to effectively target these consumer groups, and improve their level of product satisfaction. An Internet study of gardening activities was conduced in Sept. 2004, with a sample of 1591 individuals, but over sampled for African-, Hispanic-, and Asian-Americans. Results showed many differences in the purchases, enjoyment, expenditures, and product satisfaction for these groups compared to the Caucasian sample. More Caucasians had mowed their own lawn in the year prior to the study (60.2%) than African-Americans (47.1%), Hispanics (50.4%), or Asians (50.5%). More Caucasians (58.2%) had participated in flower gardening than African-Americans (33.5%) or Hispanics (44.1%), but similar to the percentage of Asian-Americans (50.9%). However, a similarly high percentage of Asians had participated in fruit, vegetable, or herb gardening (33.8%), compared to Caucasians (33.5%). Both groups participated in fruit, vegetable, or herb gardening more than African-Americans (16.3%) or Hispanics (26.7%). Hispanic gardeners spent 7.3 hours in the garden on average each week, compared to 6.7 hours for Caucasians, 6.5 for Asians, and 4.7 for African-Americans. Yet, Hispanic (3.8) and Asian (3.8) gardeners rated their level of outdoor gardening enjoyment (7-point Likert scale) higher than African-Americans (3.1) but lower than for Caucasians (4.0). This first glimpse of non-Caucasian gardeners shows businesses should target these groups for specific gardening products and may have some extra work to do to improve their level of satisfaction and enjoyment.

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Kristin L. Getter and Bridget K. Behe

The objectives of this study were to survey Midwest consumers to assess their willingness to buy alternatives to Impatiens walleriana given the confirmed presence of Impatiens downy mildew (IDM; Plasmopara obducens) in Michigan landscapes in 2012. An Internet survey queried consumers from four states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio) and questions consisted of likelihood to buy, purchasing characteristics considered, impatiens purchases in 2012, and demographic questions. Roughly 500 participants per state responded and almost three-fourths (73.8%) of respondents said they planted impatiens in their landscape in 2012. Of the 16.4% who said their plants did not look healthy at the end of the growing season, 69.3% self-identified the plant as having IDM symptoms. Purchasing characteristics that had the highest mean scores were bloom period, flower color, and longevity, whereas the lowest mean scores were for compact shape with no spindly growth, fragrance, and locally grown. Three impatiens alternative species were acceptable alternatives (scored a positive utility in the conjoint analysis) for shade-tolerant species. Begonia semperflorens was the most preferred followed by Browallia speciosa and then Impatiens hawkeri. Solenostemon scutellarioides was the least preferred. Three impatiens alternative species also scored a positive utility in the conjoint analysis and would serve well for partial shade-tolerant species. Heliotropium arborescens was the most preferred followed by Salvia splendens and then Lobelia erinus. Hypoestes phyllostachya and Iresine herbstii were preferred least as impatiens alternatives. The attribute with the highest relative importance was species for both conjoint analyses, whereas the price attribute was the least important.

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Bridget K. Behe and Dennis J. Wolnick

We determined the influence of demographic characteristics and floral knowledge (measured as product experience) on the type of floral product purchased. A sample of 401 Pennsylvania residents was divided into fresh flower and flowering plant consumer segments. Results of discriminant analyses showed the two segments were moderately distinct. Purchasers of fresh flowers were younger and more likely employed outside the home than those who purchased flowering plants, but the latter had more blooming plants in their homes than did consumers of fresh flowers. Consumers of flowering plants and of fresh flowers did not differ in their level of floral knowledge or demographic characteristics. Minor differences were found between the two segments that were not substantial enough to justify distinct marketing strategies.

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Bridget K. Behe, Patricia Huddleston, and Lynnell Sage

Marketers invest nearly 8% of their advertising budget on in-store marketing because >70% of all buying decisions are made at the point of purchase. Older consumers, especially Baby Boomers (typically classified as persons born from 1950 to 1965) have long been considered a core target market for horticultural products. However, some industry concerns have arisen with regard to the lack of purchasing among younger age cohorts, especially Gen X (born 1966–77) and Gen Y (born 1978–90). Brands help to create the perception of added value while also differentiating products from competitors. Often, brands are one of a few pieces of information consumers use to make product choices. We conducted an online survey in May 2014 to investigate the role of age cohort and brand recognition on the likely to buy (LTB) rating of two herb and two vegetable transplants. We showed study participants images of 16 plants, varying the container color (white, green, and yellow), plant type (basil, parsley, tomato, and pepper), plant brand (generic and three national brands), and price. About equal numbers from three age cohorts (Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y) were represented in the sample of 566 plant purchasers. We observed that more Boomers had seen (recognized) Brand P, whereas more Gen X and Gen Y participants had seen Brand L. Subjects who had seen the plant brands before the study had a higher mean LTB rating for branded plants compared with those who had not seen the plant brands before the study. Furthermore, both Gen X and Gen Y were more LTB branded plants compared with Boomers. In the conjoint analysis, we found that plant type was the most important product attribute. Price and brand were similarly important but also less important than plant type. All three attributes were more important than container color. Having no brand on the container detracted $0.20 from the perceived value of the plant while the brands added up to $0.15 to the perceived plant value. Future marketing strategies which include branded plants at the point of purchase likely will increase perceived product value and LTB, especially among younger consumers.