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Chengyan Yue and Charles Hall

Little research has been conducted that comprehensively studies consumers' choices of cut flowers at different occasions and for different gift recipients and how they associate different meanings with various types of cut flowers. Therefore, this article attempts to fill this gap in the literature. Using data collected by the Ipsos-National Panel Diary Group for the American Floral Endowment, we determine how the purchases of both traditional and specialty cut flowers have been changing over time and how characteristics of gift purchasers and gift recipients affect consumers' choice of different types of cut flowers. The data include consumers in 48 states and Washington, DC, whose floral purchases were tracked monthly for 14 years. Findings of this analysis confirm that floral purchases have been changing over time. In addition, the underlying drivers of floral purchases are dependent on the floral-buying occasion and the motivations underlying gift giving. These factors also influence the choice of which flowers to purchase along with the sentiment and/or symbolic meaning associated with each flower type.

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Chengyan Yue and Cindy Tong

Determining consumers' preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for organically grown and locally grown fresh produce is very important for stakeholders because it helps them figure out what type of fresh produce to grow and sell, what to emphasize in marketing efforts, and what are reasonable prices to charge. However, the literature that studies and compares consumers' preference and WTP for both organically and locally grown fresh produce is sparse. The objective of this study was to investigate consumers' WTP for organically grown and locally grown fresh produce and the marketing segmentation of these two types of produce. We combined a hypothetical experiment and nonhypothetical choice mechanism to investigate consumers' WTP for the attributes organic, local, and organic plus local for fresh produce. We found that when real products were used in the hypothetical experiment, the hypothetical bias (the difference between what people say they will pay and what they would actually pay) was not high. We found that consumers' WTP for the organic attribute was about the same as their WTP for the local attribute. Consumers' sociodemographics affected their choice between organically grown and locally grown produce. Furthermore, we found that consumers patronized different retail venues to purchase fresh produce with different attributes. The findings of the research have great importance for fresh produce stakeholders to make correct production and marketing decisions; the findings also contribute to experimental method choice in consumers' WTP research.

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Chengyan Yue and Cindy Tong

We used choice experiments to investigate consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for various apple (Malus ×domestica) varieties. The experiments also asked consumers to evaluate a series of quality attributes by allowing them to taste apples. The choice experiments were conducted in real markets where consumers were making fruit purchases to eliminate any decontextualized biases. The objectives of this study were to determine how much consumers are willing to pay for 13 new and existing apple varieties and learn what quality attributes consumers’ like or dislike in new vs. older apple varieties. Results show that compared with other apple varieties, participants were willing to pay the highest prices for ‘SweeTango®’, followed by ‘Zestar!™’ and ‘Honeycrisp’. Frequent and infrequent buyers were willing to pay significantly different amounts for most of the studied varieties. In addition to WTP estimates, our study also shows what quality attributes consumers consider as improvements compared with existing varieties. Combined with objective measures of these quality attributes, our transdisciplinary study will help apple breeders make more targeted breeding decisions by better understanding what quality attributes consumers like or dislike about the studied varieties.

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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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Chengyan Yue, Terry Hurley and Neil O. Anderson

All stakeholders along the supply chain affect the dispersal of native and invasive horticultural plants. This is especially true for the consumers who determine how the plants are ultimately used. Therefore, consumer attitudes toward native and invasive plants cannot be ignored. This study used an experimental auction to explore market segmentation among consumers in terms of their preference and willingness to pay for labeled native and invasive attributes. We identified three market segments, namely, “nativists” (16%), “invasive averse” (34%), and “typical” (50%) consumers. The three segments of consumers differed in their demographics and attitudes toward native and invasive attributes. From a government policy perspective, labeling invasive or native plants could potentially change the behavior of some consumers, but half of the market is unlikely to be substantially swayed by invasive/native labeling. Therefore, supply-side intervention policies such as sales restrictions may be more effective at promoting native plant purchases and restricting the purchase and spread of invasive plants.

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Kari Hugie, Chengyan Yue and Eric Watkins

Traditional turfgrasses found in residential lawns provide a functional and aesthetically pleasing landscape if provided adequate resource inputs, yet, as available natural resources become more limited and public concerns grow stronger about the ecological effects of urban turfgrass management, it becomes increasingly important to pursue alternative landscape options. There are non-traditional turfgrasses that require fewer resource inputs that could be made available to homeowners. The objective of this study was to estimate consumer preferences and the relative importance of aesthetic and maintenance attributes of turfgrasses as well as identify potential market segments of the residential turfgrass market. Conjoint analysis was conducted on survey responses of 116 Minnesota homeowners. The results indicated that maintenance attributes of turfgrasses, specifically irrigation requirement, significantly affected consumer purchasing behavior. The analysis also identified four potential market segments, the Price Conscious segment, the Shade Adaptation segment, the Mowing Conscious segment, and the Water Conscious segment.

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Xiaofang Guo, Chengyan Yue and Charles R. Hall

Literature on the domestic trade of nursery crops is sparse. Based on national survey data collected in years 1999, 2004, and 2009, we used augmented gravity models to investigate the primary factors affecting the value of trade for both large and small nurseries. We found that the impact of distance on trade value was different between large nurseries and small nurseries; the impact of distance on national nursery trade has been decreasing over time; and the level of impact of distance on nursery trade differs across regions. Additionally, the value of nursery trade was affected by plant types the nurseries produced and other business characteristics.

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Jennifer Drew, Chengyan Yue, Neil O. Anderson and Philip G. Pardey

The value and role of intellectual property (IP) rights pertaining to plant innovations and their economic consequences on plant values is largely unknown. A hedonic pricing model was adapted to the characteristics of the U.S. wholesale ornamental plant market, specifically the bedding, garden plant and nursery plant markets, to analyze two forms of IP rights used on plants (i.e., plant patents and trademarks). By controlling plant-specific attributes and a variety of market variables that might affect plant values, our empirical analysis reveals sizable price premiums for plant patents that may have been masked in other studies. As expected, plant patent premiums vary considerably between species where the costs of producing and marketing new cultivars differ greatly. Surprisingly, we find that the use of trademarks have a negative effect on plant prices.

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Bridget K. Behe, Kristin L. Getter and Chengyan Yue

Sales of many products, including umbrellas and skis, depend on weather conditions. Anecdotal evidence from plant producers and retailers indicate that their sales are also heavily reliant on weather conditions. Still, little published literature documents weather's influence on plant sales. Daily sales data of herbs, vegetables, and flowering annuals were acquired from 42 retail stores in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan (which were divided into four regions based on zip code). The multisite Midwestern retailer sells food and household items year-round but seasonally sells plants in outdoor covered areas. The data were analyzed using time series regression and the model produced significant results, but the amount of variance captured by region, weather parameters, month, and day of the week was only ≈40% for herbs and vegetables (H+V) and flowering annual plants (FA). Precipitation amount had no effect on sales of H+V and FA, likely because the plants were merchandised under cover. Increasing units of sunshine lowered sales by 1%. H+V sales were greatest in the southeast Michigan region but for FA were greatest in the mid-Michigan region. Lower minimum air temperature reduced sales for sales of both H+V and FA, whereas higher maximum air temperature increased sales. Sales were substantially higher in May and lower in June and July compared with April. Sales were higher in 2009 than 2007. Compared with Wednesday, sales were higher everyday and highest on Saturday. Day of week and month had a greater impact on sales than did any weather parameter. Thus, region, weather, month, and weekday do influence daily plant sales but did not account for most of the variability in 42 U.S. midwestern retail outlets.