The marketability of small scale hydroponic systems for the horticultural industry in South Africa
Hydroponics, i.e. plant cultivation in mineral-rich water is a synergy between plant, human, and machine. For decades the hydroponic garden has been offered on horticultural markets, and was repeatedly innovated to better meet consumer horticultural needs. Currently, platform convergences with electronic control systems can possibly enable more efficient products for direct consumer hydroponic cultivation. This means that, like many appliances in the home; hydroponic plant cultivation can become somewhat automated. Marketing and product innovation can help calibrate optimal New Product Development NPD of hydroponic gardens for people. The literature review grasps how consumers are subjected to a changing environment together with changing technology such as hydroponics, plant nutrition, and even garden automation. Market research frameworks namely Morphological Analysis (MA) and Conjoint Analysis (CA) are the tools deployed here for profiling and prioritising these products for horticultural consumers. Firstly, a qualitative analysis identifies conceptual sets for structures, inputs, and controls, which all harmonise into new intersections cultivation, hydroponics, and automation and the e-garden concepts. The MA next produces, and organises secondary data into constraints for the CA. Here, general hydroponic cultivation is first decomposed into all its many component parts which collectively describe the whole, where these parts are then classed along various attributes namely: garden plane xA, automation xB, performance xC, organics xD, and price xE So garden plane is composed of level and vertical gardens, garden automation is composed of manual and automatic gardens, garden performance is composed of casual and high-performance gardens, garden organics is composed of non-organic and organic gardens, and garden price although quantitative is simply composed of R2500 and R5000. These classes of attributed data can now become treated as categorical factors using indicator or dummy variables. Secondly, the CA determines how these attributes are most preferred by horticultural consumers at garden centre clusters. This involves measuring respondent preferences levels, to compute the part-worth utility for each attribute found in the MA. Factors such as garden organics, price, and automation hold adjusted alpha significance. Mainly, garden organics contributed to response effects, while price has negative slope and is second, while automation comes third. A combination of garden automation and organics is found to optimise consumer utility for Hydroponic Garden(s) HG.This research illuminates how horticultural consumers may prefer various HG, by understanding HG and how they can better benefit these people.