Tropical Geography ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (5): 780-789.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003171

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Behavior Characteristics of Food Shopping of Guangzhou Residents in the Age of Online Shopping

Deng Qinghua1,2, Xue Desheng1(), Gong Jianzhou2   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. School of Geographic Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2019-07-08 Revised:2019-08-27 Online:2019-09-10 Published:2019-11-08
  • Contact: Xue Desheng


Information and communication technology reshapes resident behavior and urban spaces. Emerging online shopping has changed residents’ shopping preferences and processes, which inevitably affects the physical business space. However, there are some differences in shopping behaviors of different types of goods. Current research focuses on online shopping behavior for books, clothes, and other commodities, but seldom explores online food shopping behavior from the spatial perspective. Based on 1406 questionnaires on the food shopping behavior of residents in Guangzhou, we compared the behaviors of food purchasers whether to buy online, who buy food online in different locations and with different frequencies. General and spatial characteristics of food shopping behaviors of Guangzhou residents under the influence of online shopping were investigated in this study using cross frequency, chi-square test, and corresponding analyses. Spatial characteristics included shopping locations, retail formats, residence locations, and shopping travel time. The results of this study are as follows: 1) Acceptance of online shopping food is generally low, and the traditional shopping model still dominates; however, online food shopping has a certain substitution effect on traditional food purchases based on purchase frequency and single cost. This is consistent with Suel et al. (2015) who investigated the relationship between online and physical grocery shopping in the United Kingdom. 2) The influence of online shopping on food sales spaces varies in different locations and formats. Online food shopping has a greater negative effect on shops around residential areas but little on those in the business district. Supermarkets and department stores will be negatively affected relative to leisure snacks and local specialty food sales, whereas fresh food stores will be less affected. In the context of the decline in physical business owing to online shopping, Guangzhou’s fresh supermarkets are booming, which also confirms that online shopping has less impact on fresh food stores. 3) The role of spatial factors still exists in the information age. Resident online shopping behaviors show similar frequency in different locations but are dissimilar in cost, time, and reasons for online shopping. However, residents with poor physical shopping conditions are more inclined to buy food online, verifying the “efficiency hypothesis”. Spatial factors are an important reason why Guangzhou residents buy food online. Residents with poor physical shopping conditions are more affected by this factor, supporting the “efficiency hypothesis” from another angle. 4) The purpose and time of physical shopping trips of online food shoppers have changed. Online food shoppers have more leisure shopping purposes and more weekend shopping trips. Additionally, residents with high online food shopping frequency have shorter travel times. The results of this study will help develop targeted business development strategies and commercial space planning in the future. This study helps understand the impact of online shopping on different types of goods and different physical business locations to guide the future layout and development of online and offline retail enterprises and provide a basis for city governments to conduct business facilities network planning.

Key words: online shopping, food shopping behavior, spatial characteristics, location, Guangzhou

CLC Number: 

  • K901