Species Selection in Secondary Wood Products: Implications for Product Design and Promotion


  • Matthew S. Bumgardner
  • Scott A. Bowe


Wood species, perceptions, total product concept, product design, product promotion


This study investigated the perceptions that people have of several commercially important wood species and determined if word-based and specimen-based evaluations differed. Such knowledge can help secondary wood manufacturers better understand their products and develop more effective design concepts and promotional messages. A sample of more than 250 undergraduate students at a major midwestern university was split into two groups and asked to rate six wood species on several semantic-differential items, based either on word association or physical wood samples. The two methods of evaluation often produced different results that were more pronounced for certain species, especially oak. Some gender-based differences were also observed. Respondents generally had difficulty identifying the species that they were observing, particularly mahogany and maple, yet maintained definite perceptual images of these same species. It is suggested that species perception is an important and lasting component of the total product concept for secondary wood products, and can moderate appearance-based evaluations.


Blomgreen., W., Jr. 1965. The psychological image of wood. Forest Prod. J. 15(4): 149-151.nBroman., N. O. 1995. Visual impressions of features in Scots pine wood surfaces: A qualitative study. Forest Prod. J. 45(3):61-66.nBumgardner, M. S. 1995. An analysis of wood attributes as perceived by a sample of undergraduate students at Virginia Tech. Unpublished report. 24 pp.nBumgardner, M. S., R. J. Bush, and C. D. West. 2001. Product development in large furniture companies: A descriptive model with implications for character-marked products. Wood Fiber Sci. 33(2):302-313.nDichter, E. 1964. Handbook of consumer motivations: The psychology of the world of objects. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.nEads, L. D. 1967. Furniture species: A forecast of tomorrow's trends. Forest Prod. J. 17(8):10-11.nEpperson, J. 2001. A leader's take on chaos, brands, and consumers. Furniture/Today 25(37):20.nFrye, L. R. 1996. The most popular furniture woods: The historical perspective. Wood and Wood Products Centennial 1896-1996. Pp. 304-307.nGilligan, K. 1999. Rough and rustic. Wood Digest 30(10):51-54.nHardwood Manufacturers Association. 1995. Consumer panel tells all about hardwoods. HMA Link 7(8):1.nKaiser, J. A. 1997. Which woods are worthy? Wood and Wood Products 102(13):131-142.nLevitt, T. 1986. The marketing imagination. The Free Press, New York, NY.nMalhotra, N. K. 1981. A scale to measure self-concepts, person concepts, and product concepts. J. Marketing Res. 18(November):456-464.nOhm, L. 2001. Kitchen storage options steal the show at K/BIS. FDM. 73(8):74-82.nOzanne, L. K., and P. M. Smith. 1996. Consumer segments for environmentally marketed wooden household furniture. Wood Fiber Sci. 28(4):461-477.nPakarinen, T. 1999. Success factors of wood as a furniture material. Forest Prod. J. 49(9):79-85.nSinclair S. A. 1992. Forest Products Marketing. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.nStalling, E. C., and S. A. Sinclair. 1989. The competitive position of wood as a residential siding material. Forest Prod. J. 39(4):8-14.nSwearingen, K. A., E. N. Hansen, and J. E. Reeb. 1998. The Customer preferences for Pacific Northwest hardwoods. Forest Prod. J. 48(2):29-33.n






Research Contributions