Macro-level change and micro level effects: A twenty-year perspective on changing grocery shopping behaviour in Britain
ABSTRACT 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.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: There is considerable concern in the United Kingdom regarding the growing power of supermarkets, a concern that culminated recently in a UK Competition Commission enquiry into the grocery sector. Against this backdrop, some suppliers, independent retailers and societal groups have been critical of the investigation, implying that it did not do justice to the role of small stores in society, and that this issue is insufficiently understood by policy-makers. To address this need, this article reviews and assesses the available UK evidence on the social and economic role of small independent stores and the values that are attached to them by the communities they serve. This is achieved using the Systematic Literature Review methodology. The purpose of the article is to gauge the evidence as a platform for wider debate on how the role of small stores can be maintained and enhanced. The article identifies key themes and gaps in the literature as a basis for identifying research priorities and highlights implications for public policy and planning.The International Review of Retail. 05/2010; Distribution and Consumer Research(Vol. 20):187-215.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Purpose – Most wine in the UK is sold in supermarkets and most of this on promotion. This holds down average bottle price squeezing profit margins when wine is sold below-the-line. This paper aims to develop understanding of what currently influences consumers to buy in supermarkets and what might influence them to trade-up. Design/methodology/approach – Literature related to supermarket shopping and to wine buying in an off-trade environment was reviewed. Several issues which may influence wine buying in supermarkets in the UK, particularly the impetus to trade-up, were identified. An exploratory study using focus groups followed to explore these issues in further depth. Findings – Wine bought along with groceries can be seen to be as ordinary as any other fast moving consumer good. This perception influences consumers’ wine buying behaviour in supermarkets. In particular it influences perceptions of suitability and price. Research limitations/implications – This was an exploratory study with a small sample population and so cannot be taken to be fully representative of the whole UK adult population. Nevertheless, it raises many significant issues in relation to wine buying in supermarkets, all of which would benefit from further research. Practical implications – The results highlight areas where all off-licences, particularly supermarket chains, could usefully review their current marketing strategies. Originality/value – This study highlights the fact that there are two wines in many consumers’ minds. Much wine related research has been undertaken at the high involvement, luxury end of the market, but very little at the low involvement, ordinary end where most sales take place. This paper starts to address this issue.International Journal of Wine Business Research 01/2010; 22(2):102-121.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Purpose – In the UK, while fashion apparel purchasing is available to the majority of consumers, the main supermarkets seem – rather against the odds and market conventions – to have created a new, socially-acceptable and legitimate, apparel market offer for young children. This study aims to explore parental purchasing decisions on apparel for young children (below ten years old) focusing on supermarket diversification into apparel and consumer resistance against other traditional brands. Design/methodology/approach – Data collection adopted a qualitative research mode: using semi-structured interviews in two locations (Cornwall Please correct and check againand Glasgow), each with a Tesco and ASDA located outside towns. A total of 59 parents participated in the study. Interviews took place in the stores, with parents seen buying children fashion apparel. Findings – The findings suggest that decisions are based not only on functionality (e.g. convenience, value for money, refund policy), but also on intuitive factors (e.g. style, image, quality) as well as broader processes of consumption from parental boundary setting (e.g. curbing premature adultness). Positive consumer resistance is leading to a re-drawing of the cultural boundaries of fashion. In some cases, concerns are expressed regarding items that seem too adult-like or otherwise not as children's apparel should be. Practical implications – The paper highlights the increasing importance of browsing as a modern choice practice (e.g. planned impulse buying, sanctuary of social activity). Particular attention is given to explaining why consumers positively resist buying from traditional label providers and voluntarily choose supermarket clothing ranges without any concerns over their children wearing such garments. Originality/value – The paper shows that supermarket shopping for children's apparel is now firmly part of UK consumption habits and choice. The findings provide theoretical insights into the significance of challenging market conventions, parental cultural boundary setting and positive resistance behaviour.Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management 09/2011; 15(4):464-485.