Publication Details

Species selection in secondary wood products: perspectives from different consumers

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Wood and Fiber Science. 36(3): 319-328.


This study investigated adult consumer perceptions of several wood species to determine if word-based and appearance-based evaluations differed. The research replicated a 2001 study by the authors, which used undergraduate college students as a proxy for older and more experienced adult furniture consumers. The literature is somewhat inconclusive concerning the extent to which student samples represent ?real? consumers. Using the mall intercept survey procedure at several furniture stores and trade shows in two Midwestern cites, participants were split into two groups and asked to rate six commercially important wood species on several semantic- differential items, based either on word association (word-based perception) or physical wood specimens (appearance-based perception). Results from the replicated adult consumer study were very similar to the student study suggesting that college students provide a reasonable picture of adult consumers? perceptions of wood species. The study confirmed that the word-based and appearance-based methods of evaluation sometimes produce different results. In general, the appearance-based respondents had difficulty identifying the species they were observing; however, the adult consumers were better at species identification than were the college students. This study provides further evidence that preconceived species perceptions play an important role in influencing the consumer?s ultimate evaluation of wood. The research results can help secondary wood manufacturers better understand the implications of species on design and communication decisions.


wood; perception; species; college; student; consumer; proxy


Bowe, Scott A.; Bumgardner, Matthew S. 2004. Species selection in secondary wood products: perspectives from different consumers. Wood and Fiber Science. 36(3): 319-328.

Last updated on: October 18, 2007