Macro-level Change and Micro-level Effects: A Twenty-year Perspective on Changing Grocery Shopping Behaviour in Britain

Management School, Lancaster University, UK
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 11/2006; 13(6):381-392. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2006.02.003


In this paper we summarise key elements of retail change in Britain over a twenty-year period. The time period is that covered by a funded study into long-term change in grocery shopping habits in Portsmouth, England. The major empirical findings—to which we briefly allude—are reported elsewhere: the present task is to assess the wider context underlying that change. For example, it has frequently been stated that retailing in the UK is not as competitive as in other leading economies. As a result, the issue of consumer choice has become increasingly important politically. Concerns over concentration in the industry, new format development and market definition have been expressed by local planners, competition regulators and consumer groups. Macro level changes over time have also created market inequality in consumer opportunities at a local level—hence our decision to attempt a local-level study. Situational factors affecting consumer experiences over time at the local level involve the changing store choice sets available to particular consumers. Using actual consumer experiences thus becomes a yardstick for assessing the practical effectiveness of policy making. The paper demonstrates that choice at local level is driven by store use and that different levels of provision reflect real choice at the local level. Macro-level policy and ‘one size fits all’ approaches to regulation, it is argued, do not reflect the changing reality of grocery shopping. Accordingly, arguments for a more local and regional approach to regulation are made.

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    • "Although this type of analysis is not new, with work in other countries having been completed (for example in the USA (Buchmueller et al., 2006; Luo et al., 2004), China (Akin et al., 2005), India (Kumar, 2004), and Costa Rica (Rosero-Bixby, 2004)), a longitudinal analysis of data over a twenty year period has rarely been reported in the literature. In addition, no research has been conducted which examines the dynamics of health journeys in the context of GB with the exception of a number of studies that have examined changes in travel patterns associated with undertaking other types of activities such as commuting (Pooley and Turnbull, 2000; Titheridge and Hall, 2006), and shopping (De Kervenoael et al., 2006). Although the utilisation of health care facility depends on many factors (e.g. "
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    Health & Place 03/2012; 18(2):274-85. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.09.018 · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    • "This belief may help to explain the UKs' reluctance to move from £3.79 to over £4.00 per bottle, particularly when grocery shopping, even if colour, origin or brand are overtly stated to be significant influencers as well as price. As previously discussed, De Kervenoael et al. (2006) and Mintel (2008) show that consumers no longer have a wide choice of grocery retailers and therefore are driven primarily by location and convenience. If the supermarket brand/chain is trusted and competitive then its products can be bought regularly with speed and without effort for home consumption; trust grows with regular positive shopping experiences (Anchor and Kourilova, 2009). "
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    • "Recent literature has identified that a broader understanding of how the various in-store cues that comprise the store environment influence consumers purchasing decisions is required (Clarke et al. 2006; De Kervenoael, Hallsworth and Clarke 2006; Hardesty, O'Bearden and Carlson 2007; Jackson et al. 2006; Kirkup et al. 2004; Pan and Zinkhan 2006; Andreu et al. 2006). The retailing literature contains many examples which indicate that point-of-purchase displays influence purchasing decisions and generate substantial sales increases. "
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