The Impact of Plant Features on Consumer Preference for Outdoor Plants: The Role of Feature Type, Consumer Knowledge, and Task Involvement

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Wang, Xuezhu
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University of Guelph

As the first trail to classify plant features into hedonic vs. utilitarian dimensions, this study investigates how consumer individual characteristics (knowledge/involvement) work jointly with plant feature types to influence preference, including three types of horticultural products: perennial (daylily), annual (geranium), and shrub (hydrangea). Discrete choice experiments and multinomial logit analysis are utilized to capture consumer preferences. The results of this study provide many insights. First, the general preference patterns for the three plants are summarized and consumer willingness-to-pay for preferred features are calculated. Second, consumer knowledge and involvement are proved to moderate consumer preference. Interestingly, consumers with a high level of knowledge and involvement prefer inferior utilitarian features more, and the hedonic value of plant products is also highlighted. Finally, the comparisons between US and Canadian consumers provide more practical implications. Based on the research findings, the theoretical and managerial contributions, limitations, and future research opportunities are discussed.

Consumer Behaviour, Outdoor Plants, Discrete Choice Experiment, Consumer Knowledge, Involvement