Weyerhaeuser Lyptus hardwood came out on top as the specie of choice in a 2010 study that evaluated consumers’ preferences between select hardwoods. The USDA Forest Service, University of Wisconsin and Virginia Tech ran the joint study, surveying a total of 1,008 participants at shopping malls in Wisconsin, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia. The study’s purpose was to help hardwood producers and manufacturers identify hardwood attributes that are important to consumers.
In the study, consumers were shown seven wood samples: Lyptus, Black Cherry, White Oak, European Beech, Sugar Maple, Rubberwood and Basswood; and three plastic laminate samples: Cherry, Maple and White Oak. Participants were then asked to rank the aesthetic attributes of each hardwood, including color and color intensity, grain density and pattern, warmness and coldness, naturalness and finish.
Lyptus had the best overall attribute mean at 2.11 (where 1 was the high score and 7 the low); Black Cherry came in second at 2.41. Both of these top-rated wood species received high attribute ratings for their color and color intensity (hue), indicating that consumers value a ‘warm’ look. This trend is further supported in the ‘cold’ versus ‘warm’ ratings, as warmer appearing hardwoods had significantly higher ratings than colder appearing hardwoods.
Test subjects were also willing to pay more for Lyptus and Black Cherry, each respectively valued at $115 and $103 (value as given for a table top). These findings mirror the test subjects’ overall ratings of various species.
For more information on the study and individual wood specie results, including response breakdown by locale, gender and income-level, please see the report "Enhancing Utilization of Hardwoods in the Eastern United States" on the Glacierland RC&D website: http://glacierlandrcd.org.
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