Background: Despite the rapid growth in consumer spending on herbal products, we know little about factors that influence such spending. Objective: To use a model of adoption to investigate consumers' spending on herbal products. Methods: The study used a mail survey of a stratified random sample of 1,300 consumers. The population consisted of consumers aged 18 years and older residing in the United States. The sampling frame was a mailing list purchased from KM Lists. The independent variables were consumer characteristics, social systems, communication channels, and herbal characteristics. The amount of spending on herbs was the dependent measure, with responses divided into monthly spending of $10 or less and more than $10. Binary logistic regression was performed to investigate the association between adoption model variables and spending on herbs. Results: Of the 1,300 mailed surveys, there were 77 undeliverable surveys and 456 usable returned surveys, yielding a usable response rate of 37.3%. A total of 181 (39.7%) respondents reported using herbal products. The logistic regression was performed using the 168 herbal users who reported that they spent money in the past month on herbal products. The overall regression model was significant (P < .05, Nagelkerke R2= 0.499). The significant influences on spending on herbals were age, over-the-counter (OTC) drug use, and use of an herb professional as an information source about herbs. Older people reported spending more on herbal products than younger people. OTC drug use was positively related to spending on herbals and appears to complement herbal usage. Finally, consumers who obtain information about herbals from an herb professional tend to spend more on herbals. Conclusion: An adoption model may be useful in explaining consumers' spending on herbal products. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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