The geography of consumption: an analysis of the purchase choice strategies in Italian families

Francesca Setiffi

Abstract


The aim of this paper is to study the change in consumption strategies of Italian families considering their choice of retail stores. The data are taken from the Observatory of the strategies of family consumption coordinated by the Institute of Social Research, University of Verona and SWG concerning the years 2009-
20111 and gathered by CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing). The longitudinal analysis of the phenomenon highlights a division of the sample into two parts: on one hand, families looking for the cheapest price in order to preserve the overa l quality of their shopping basket, on the other families driven by the services offered which add a surplus to the shopping cart. Most consumers have modified their shopping habits; price is confirmed as the main element directing consumption strategies while large-scale retail trade continues to absorb most of the demand, especially as regards food products. The level of the consumer’s selectivity in the choice of retail stores grows as much as his tendency to discuss the standard of the offered service. Dynamism is a characteristic of the wandering consumer’s behavior in order to interpret the constant change of the retail stores, that does not only express the profile of the “sovereign consumer” but expresses also a constant level of uncertainty about the future. The change in purchase strategies, and consequently in
the choice of retail shops has involved most families, forced to readjust both the purchased goods in the basket and the quality of these goods by the means of a “new” choice of the retail stores. The understanding of consumption strategies


Keywords


consumption; social stratificatio;, retail shops;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13136/isr.v2i3.39

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