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Alternative approaches to the analysis of consumer spatial behavior Taylor, Stuart Martin

Abstract

Recent studies have sought to explain consumer spatial behaviour in terms of the psychological characteristics of the consumer. A variety of psychological attributes have been suggested as potential independent variables including perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and values. This study seeks to synthesise these disparate approaches through the identification and measurement of consumer dispositions which are seen to function as central components in the decision making process leading to behaviour. Particular emphasis is placed upon the development of a reliable and valid set of dispositional scales which it is hoped might have applicability beyond this single study. This research makes a further contribution to the existing literature by comparing the ability of a dispositional model to predict retail choices with that of traditional shopping behaviour models based on measures of the locational and biographical characteristics of the consumer. Interview responses and a factor analysis of questionnaire data identified five major dispositions underlying retail choices with respect to clothing purchases. These were labeled status-orientation, convenience-orientation, fashion-orientation, price orientation and quality-orientation. A set of Likert scales was developed to measure these dispositions and a pretest was conducted to ensure that established psychometric standards were met. The major data collection phase comprised a questionnaire survey of a stratified random sample of households drawn from the City of Vancouver and adjacent municipalities. The data provided information on the respondent's dispositions, shopping behaviour and biographical characteristics. Location relative to retail facilities was subsequently determined from the respondent's address. A series of discriminant analyses were performed on the questionnaire data to compare the efficacy of locational, biographical and dispositional variables as discriminators between retail patronage groups. The groups were defined on the basis of the type of store and type of shopping centre patronized on each of four shopping trips for clothing. The results suggest that retail choices may be the outcome of a two-stage decision process: the first stage at a macro scale involving the isolation of one or more feasible alternative shopping areas primarily on the basis of locational considerations; the second stage, at a micro scale involving the selection of a store within one of the preselected shopping areas with dispositional factors being fundamental in directing the evaluation of alternatives and the choice of a preferred store.

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