Market appeal of Hawaiian koa wood product characteristics: a consumer preference study
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In: Proceedings, 58th International Convention of Society of Wood Science and Technology; 2015 June 7-12; Jackson, WY. Monona, WI: Society of Wood Science and Technology: 743-749.
Acacia koa is an endemic Hawaiian tree species whose wood is prized globally. Today, most woodworkers use koa wood from dead and dying old-growth trees. Wood from young-growth koa is thought to be less appealing to consumers because of its lighter color and lack of figure. A conjoint choice experiment was conducted to evaluate consumer preference of these koa characteristics and their willingness-to-pay. This experiment randomly combined different attributes: colors, figure, and prices and used six identically shaped bowls (an item likely to be purchased by Hawaiian residents and visitors) from which respondents selected their preference. The survey was conducted at Hawaii’s Woodshow (129 respondents) to canvass consumers likely to be familiar with koa. Results were analyzed using latent class analysis software that separates respondents into distinct classes based upon preferences. The results identified three classes of respondents. Class l (32% of respondents) showed significant preference for lower prices and curly figure but not for color. Class 2 (42% of respondents) significantly preferred curly figure and medium or light colored koa bowls. Class 3 (27% of respondents) significantly preferred lower prices, medium color, and bowls with no curly figure. Koa woodworkers can use these results to design and create pieces for different market groups. Through substitution of young-growth koa for the decreasing supply of old-growth wood, the legacy of koa wood can be sustained.
KeywordsAcacia koa; conjoint choice; Hawaii; consumer preferences; willingness-to-pay; old-growth; young-growth
Lowell, Eini C.; Wilson, Katherine; Friday, J.B.; Wiedenbeck, Jan; Chan, Catherine. 2015. Market appeal of Hawaiian koa wood product characteristics: a consumer preference study. In: Proceedings, 58th International Convention of Society of Wood Science and Technology; 2015 June 7-12; Jackson, WY. Monona, WI: Society of Wood Science and Technology: 743-749.