Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Spatial Distribution of Consumer Preferences: Case Study of Shopping Malls in Bratislava

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Spatial Distribution of Consumer Preferences: Case Study of Shopping Malls in Bratislava

Article excerpt


Shopping centers have become part of the retail space in many post-communist countries due to globalization trends in the early 90s of the last century (Krizan et al. 2016, Michalak 2001, Riley 1997, Spilkova 2008, Szczyrba 2005a). The transformation of the retail space in Slovakia had several phases (Mitrikova 2008, Trembosova 2012). As E. Nagy (2001, p. 346) states, taking Hungary as an example," in capitals and the largest provincial cities, large-scale developments have transformed consumer habits and the spatial shopping trips of the urban population, who have adapted very rapidly to the new retail structure. In this way, the gravity center of shopping has changed: customers increasingly target the city center for its specialized shops, but its role is declining in daily and weekly shopping. The flow of shoppers is also shifting from the traditional main shopping streets to new shopping centers and the stores clustered around it". As one of the few Slovak cities, Bratislava shows signs of growing decentralization and not only in suburbanization activities. On the one hand, Bratislava is a prime example of retail concentration (cf. Szczyrba 2005b), and retail activity decentralization on the other (Sveda, Krizan 2012).

Changes in urban retail go along with changes in consumer behavior (Spilkova 2012) and consumer mobility for services (Halas, Zuskacova 2013). In this respect, shopping centers became the favored retail format (Maryas et al. 2014, Szczyrba 2010).

The aim of the paper is to evaluate consumer preferences in shopping centers in Bratislava from a spatial perspective. The authors identify the most preferred shopping centers in Bratislava based on consumer preferences and attractiveness index. The authors also attempt to identify consumer preference distribution while choosing shopping centers.


The methods used in the study can be divided into three groups. The first group consists of methods analyzing consumer perceptions and preferences. Therefore, primary data was collected via survey and interviews (Guimaraes 2014, Kunc et al. 2012). The study is based on a survey of 11,389 respondents, consumers shopping in retail units across Bratislava (cf. Bilkova et al. 2016, Krizan et al. 2015, Kita, Grossmanova 2014). Quota sampling was employed (Bryman 2012) to consider place of residence, age, and other characteristics (table 1). The survey was conducted between February and May 2011. Respondents were asked directly in shopping centers and their vicinities in Bratislava.

The second group consists of methods evaluating shopping center attractiveness. The corresponding literature states numerous options to measure attractiveness in the form of various indexes (cf. Kunc et al. 2016, Mitrikova and Antolikova 2016). The study employs an attractiveness index (Des Rosiers et al. 2005) quantifying shopping center attractiveness as a ratio comparing individual shopping centers to the sum of shopping centers in Bratislava (cf. Krizan et al. 2016).

Visualization and interpretation methods compose the third group of methods. Geographic information systems (Gis) were employed not only as a cartographic (visualization) tool but also an analytical (interpretation) study tool. The analysis in the GIS comprised of several steps:

I. Raster digitalization and layer creation. shopping center localization data was geocoded with Gis editing tools.

II. Analysis of shopping center accessibility. shopping center accessibility was analyzed using binary accessibility ratios in the road network within the Gis with the Network analyst tool (cf. Durcek and Hornak 2016). Starting points in the square grid are represented by 1 x 1 km centroids. Ending points are represented by shopping center locations in Bratislava in 2011 or 2016.

III. interpretation of cartographic analysis results. Analytical parts of the study were visualized within the GIS using several cartographic techniques. …

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