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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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines changing patterns in the utilisation and geographic access to health services in Great Britain using National Travel Survey data (1985-2006). The utilisation rate was derived using the proportion of journeys made to access health services. Geographic access was analysed by separating the concept into its accessibility and mobility dimensions. Regression analyses were conducted to investigate the differences between different socio-spatial groups in these indicators over the period 1985-2006. This study found that journey distances to health facilities were significantly shorter and also gradually reduced over the period in question for Londoners, females, those without a car or on low incomes, and older people. However, most of their rates of utilisation of health services were found to be significantly lower because their journey times were significantly longer and also gradually increased over the periods. These findings indicate that the rate of utilisation of health services largely depends on mobility level although previous research studies have traditionally overlooked the mobility dimension.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Health & Place
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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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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · International Journal of Wine Business Research
    • "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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    ABSTRACT: A wide range of methods are used within the store environment as a means for increasing consumer patronage and sales. Other than whether items are actually purchased, there is limited knowledge about how consumers perceive and respond to in-store cues. Little is also known about how consumers use such information as part of the purchasing decision process. In this exploratory study we seek to obtain a broader understanding around consumers' purchasing decisions within the store environment. The research is set in the grocery store environment. Nine female participants from Auckland, New Zealand took part in a 3-month data collection process. Participants were aware that a variety of in-store cues exerted a degree of influence on their purchasing decisions and they were found to use this together with their individual contexts (including preferences, knowledge and previous experiences) to evaluate displays and promotions, and reach decisions. The relative importance of these two “factors” was found to vary between purchasing decisions as well as from person to person. Avenues for future research are offered with the aim of further exploration of the balance between store cues and individual contexts and so moving toward a more holistic understanding of how in-store purchasing decisions are constructed.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2009 · Journal of Customer Behaviour
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