Profiling Consumer Attitudes to Retail Spaces: Shopping Centres as ‘Place’

By Anthony Philip Williams, Graham John Brewer, Michael Ostwald and Raichel Le Goff.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper identifies and describes shoppers’ attitudes and behaviours in relation to retail environments. It maps the profiles of shoppers, identifying significant changes, including the growth of mixed development and ‘green’ retailing. The literature is used to identify and define the attitudes and behaviours that characterise shoppers' interaction with Australian shopping malls. These are then used to inform the design and conduct of research involving eight focus groups of consumers in two tightly defined geographical areas. Each investigation is analysed using appropriate qualitative or quantitative techniques and the results thereafter interpreted and explained. Results show that there are significant differences in shoppers' attitudes to retail experiences and the spaces in which they occur. These vary according to gender, age, level of household income, occupation and level of education. Moreover, these differences are interrelated, rendering their implications for retailers similarly complex. This paper proposes that designs of retail spaces are only economically justifiable if they provide an acceptable mix of experiences for the full range of consumers using them. Understanding the complex interplay between the expectations of the various consumer groups and their consequent requirements is central to decision-making in this regard. This research is part of a larger study, believed to be the first critical analysis of Australian consumer attitudes towards retail spaces in terms of demographic groups. The ideas presented in this study could have wide-reaching possibilities for empirical studies on the socio-cultural role of malls, outside of Australia.

Keywords: Demographics, Consumer Attitudes, Sense of Place, Retail, Shopping Centre

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.41-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 414.448KB).

Prof. Anthony Philip Williams

Head of School, School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tony is currently the Head of School of the Faculty of School of Architecture and Built Environment. He is a winner of multiple university teaching awards as well as national awards for teaching excellence. Tony has worked extensively in curriculum design and implementation both at program and course levels and is highly regarded in this area, having worked as a curriculum consultant both nationally and internationally. Tony’s research is in the field of Design Methodology. He is widely published in the field of Design and Engineering Education, with over 100 publications in these professional education fields.

Assoc. Prof. Graham John Brewer

Deputy Head of School, School of Archtecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Graham is the Deputy Head of School in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle, Australia.

Prof Michael Ostwald

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Professor Michael J. Ostwald is the Dean of Architecture at The University of Newcastle, Australia and is a Visiting Professor at RMIT University (Melbourne). He has a PhD in architectural history and theory and a higher doctorate (DSc) in the mathematics of design. He has lectured in Asia, Europe and North America and has written and published extensively on the relationship between architecture, philosophy and mathematics. Michael Ostwald is a member of the editorial boards or scientific committees of the Nexus Network Journal, Architectural Theory Review, Architectural Science Review and Architecture Research.

Dr. Raichel Le Goff

Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, School of Architecture & the Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Australia