Outshopping Behavior in a Small Indian Town: An Exploratory Study

Article excerpt

Movement of people from one retail trade area to another in search of better options and deals has been studied across the world, analyzing its large impact on trade flow. However, studies with regard to India are a total miss. This paper picks up variables from literature and studies them from perspective of a small town Indian customer. The variables have been classified as demographic variables, psychographic variables, market related factors, product related factors and situational factors for the study. Data collected through structured questionnaire has been analyzed using statistical techniques like Chi-square test, ANOVA and AID. The results show that in addition to factors found significant in literature, small town Indian consumer outshops mostly on holidays for fashion and specialty goods.

INTRODUCTION

Movement of consumers from downtown to retail centers of suburbs or to adjoining larger cities has been defined as outshopping behavior and extensively studied in Western literature. Later date literature studies and classifies outshopping as rural outshopping, international outshopping, etc. Literature has identified socio-demographic and psychographic profiles of the outshoppers and at the same time identifies market-related, product- related and situational factors having an impact on outshopping behavior (Herrmann and Beik, 1968; Thompson, 1971; Darden and Reynolds, 1971; Reynolds and Darden, 1972; Samli and Uhr, 1974; Lillis and Hawkins, 1974; Papadopoulos, 1980; Hozier and Stem, 1985; Hopper and Budden, 1989; Hopper and Lipscomb, 1991; Klemz, 1999; Smith, 1999; Marjanen, 2000; Alzubaidi et al., 1997).

The studies on outshopping were also conducted in other parts of the world particularly countries foreseeing rapid pace of urbanization and thus growth of suburban shopping centers. However, few studies exist in developing countries like India. Outshopping prevails in most of these countries in the form of rural outshopping, outshopping from small cities or towns to nearby larger cities owing to undeveloped market structures in such places.

Keeping this gap in mind and identifying the strong prevalence of outshopping in India particularly from small to nearby larger cities study was designed to study the phenomenon in the Indian context. This paper studies the relevance of factors identified from the international literature in the Indian context.

DEFINITION OF OUTSHOPPING BEHAVIOR

Outshopping is a significant retailing phenomenon resulting in sales leakage's from the local to surrounding communities. It is traveling beyond one's own urban market to purchase goods (Dawson and Garland, 1983).

However, there are large numbers of differences in the parameters on which the outshoppers have been identified and segmented. Initial studies used frequency of outshopping trips (Herrman and Beik, 1968; Thompson, 1971; Hopper and Lipscomb, 1991; Reynolds and Darden, 1972; Samli et al, 1983; Hawes and Lumpkins, 1984; Wee et al, 1988 and Hopper and Budden, 1989). Later research classified outshopper on the basis of proportion of out-of-town purchases (Samli and Uhr, 1974; Papadopoulos, 1980). On the basis of proportion of expenditure, outshoppers have been classified as heavy outshoppers, those who buy 75% or more out-of-town; outshoppers, those who buy 51-75% of their purchases out-of-town; inshoppers, those who make 51 -75% of their purchases in-town; and finally, loyal inshoppers who buy 76-100% of their purchases in-town (Papadopoulos, 1980).

Outshoppers have also been classified on the basis of types of products purchased by them in the out-of-town market (Hozier and Stem, 1985; Darden and Perreault's, 1976). Hozeir and Stem, (1985) found that products varied greatly in price, both between and within classes, therefore dollar expenditure measures of outshopping behavior may not be generalizable by definition. Darden and Perreault's (1976) have classified them as inshoppers, big-ticket outshoppers, furniture outshoppers, appearance outshoppers and home entertainment outshoppers. …

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