Causal path modeling of grocery shopping in
College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, and
Pennsylvania State University, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine attitudinal and behavioral shopping patterns related to hypermarket shopping in an Asian market,
which has undergone a revolutionary transition from traditional to modern trade food retailing in the past decade. The ﬁrst class includes shopping
enjoyment, risk aversion, price signaling, innovativeness, trust and future purchase intentions. The second group of behavioral shopping patterns
includes advocacy, time, and money spent shopping.
Design/methodology/approach – A sample of 244 shoppers was interviewed across Bangkok using a structured questionnaire through face-to-face
Findings – The study ﬁnds that grocery shoppers tend to be more risk averse when time pressured, but less risk averse if they are innovative. Bangkok
Thais score high on innovativeness and shopping enjoyment and are more frequent patrons of hypermarkets than other grocery store formats. While a
particular aspect of hypermarket grocery shopping behavior is found to relate to advocacy and future loyalty intentions, it does not contribute to
enhanced store trust.
Research limitations/implications – While Thailand is part of Southeast Asia, not all countries share the same cultures or consumer behavior.
Similarly, as Bangkok is a mega city, it cannot be said to represent rural parts of the country.
Practical implications – As the majority of modern retailers are owned and managed by western countries, the format is relatively new in most Asian
markets. Their growth has not evolved naturally and may result in cross-cultural consumer behavior conﬂicts, thus ﬁndings help extant or new retailers
better understand consumer behavior. Because of high risk aversion, private label brands may require that stores develop greater trust among
consumers, perhaps through sampling or building awareness of the concept behind private label. Thai hypermarket shoppers appear driven more by
convenience than by time pressure. Because they tend to shop in groups and enjoy this experience, retailers may want to consider more of the
experiential or social aspects involved in shopping, rather than purely functional offerings.
Originality/value – By applying predominantly western theories to a developing Asian market, their generalizability can be tested.
Keywords Hypermarkets, Shopping, Behaviour, Asia, Modelling, National cultures
Paper type Research paper
An executive summary for managers and executive
readers can be found at the end of this article.
In times of strong competition and changing consumer
dynamics, investors in the grocery retail trade need to
appreciate consumers’ perceptions of the variety of shopping
formats available to them. Moreover, to establish primary
store status for grocery shoppers, retailers should identify the
multifaceted factors that inﬂuence customer preferences and
decision-making in grocery purchasing. The stereotype of a
preferred grocery shopping format to be a clean, neat store,
stocked with high-quality fruits, vegetables and fresh meats
(Food Marketing Institute, 2001), may simply be that,
particularly in a collectivist Asian mega city such as Bangkok,
A market in transition
Bangkok’s retail grocery trade gives witness to radical change
over the past decade, when foreign direct investment was
permitted for the ﬁrst time. In 1997, foreign competition laws
were revoked after the devaluation of the Thai currency,
driving change in grocery distribution structures that had
remained unchanged since the early twentieth century.
Bangkok only got its ﬁrst department store as late as 1956
(Feeny et al., 1996). Smith and Mandhachitara (2000) report
that by the early 1990s there were fewer than 50 supermarkets
in the city of six million people. “Mom and pop” general
merchandise stores dominated food shopping and numbered
in excess of 200,000 outlets before the foreign retail
investment liberalization. There was one foreign
hypermarket in Bangkok in the early 1990s (Makro), and
this was permitted only by the Dutch chain-shareholders
being authorized to own a minority of the equity in a joint
venture with a local retailer. With liberalization, the success of
Makro in Bangkok stimulated a ﬂood of investment in the
retailing business category, particularly food. Foreign-owned
and managed hypermarket chains now account for more than
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Journal of Product & Brand Management
17/5 (2008) 327– 340
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 1061-0421]