Look at What Is Important: Eye-tracking Research on Plant Displays

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 1:15 PM
Springs Salon D/E (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Bridget K. Behe , Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Ben Campbell, Assistant Professor and Extension Economist , University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Hayk Khachatrayn, Ph.D. , University of Florida, Apopka
Charles R. Hall, Professor and Ellison Chair , Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Jennifer Dennis , Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Prior research has demonstrated that consumers vary in the value they assign to product attributes.  Our study sought to investigate the relationship between product attribute relative importance and visual activity.  We photographed plant displays and showed them to 330 volunteer (compensated with $30) participants at six North American universities or research institutions.  Displays were constructed to quantify relative importance for 4 (plant types) x 4 (production practices) x 3 (prices).  Visual data was collected with a Tobii X1 Light Eye Tracking device, extracted with Tobii Studio, manipulated in Microsoft Excel 2007 and analyzed with Stata 12.  The conjoint analysis showed that the model was significant.  Moderately priced products ($2.49) were preferred over both lower and higher priced products, unlike prior studies. Modest price premiums ranging from $0.04 to $0.09 were attributed to the non-conventional production practices with the greatest premium for water-saving production practices.  We subsequently identified 3 consumer groups (plant focused, production method focused, and price focused). Consistent with the central gaze theory, most consumers looked at (total visit duration) the central sign longest.  However, no sign captured as much visual interest (total visit duration) as the plant material.  Attention to plant material was 2x to 4x the attention to any one sign.  Results can be helpful to professionals, especially retailers, construct more effective plant displays.