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Instore social and nonsocial shopping: a leisure perspective.

INTRODUCTION

Shopping with others or group shopping is commonly seen in shopping malls and retail stores. Consumers shop with others for a variety of reasons, including social motives, to make a common or joint purchase decision, and to help to reduce the risk associated with making an important purchase decision (Hartman & Kiecker, 1991; Kiecker & Hartman, 1993). The shopping companions that help satisfy these needs have been referred to as purchase pals in the consumer behavior literature (Hartman & Kiecker, 1991; Kiecker & Hartman, 1993; Woodside & Sims, 1976). Hartman and Kiecker (1991) define purchase pals as "individuals who accompany buyers on their shopping trips in order to assist them with their on-site purchase decisions" (p. 462). Consistent with this definition, research on purchase pals has focused on the use of purchase pals as information sources to help consumers reduce risk and uncertainty and increase their confidence when making purchase decisions. This perspective coincides with the traditional focus of shopping research on the utilitarian (functional or tangible) product-acquisition aspects of shopping activity as opposed to studying the hedonic (enjoyable or intangible) aspects of the shopping experience (Arnold & Reynolds, 2003). As a result, little attention has been given to the role of purchase pals in helping to satisfy consumers' social motives while shopping or how shopping companions influence consumers' perceptions of their shopping experience, i.e., enjoyment and other hedonic motives. The renewed interest in examining and understanding the hedonic and experiential aspects of shopping that has occurred in the last several years warrants this approach (e.g., Arnold & Reynolds, 2003; Babin, Darden, & Griffin, 1994; Mathwick, Malhotra, & Rigdon, 2001). Continuing this line of reasoning, since shopping can have hedonic qualities and is a form of recreation or leisure for some consumers (Guiry, Magi, & Lutz, 2006; Lehtonen & Maenpaa, 1997; Prus & Dawson, 1991), the present study will examine how the leisure and social dimensions of shopping influence consumers' perception of shopping as a leisure experience, and compare the leisure perceptions of four types of shoppers: 1) social recreational shoppers, 2) nonsocial recreational shoppers, 3) social nonrecreational shoppers, and 4) nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers. Clothing shopping was used as the context of this research since Campbell (1997) found that clothing shopping is a common focus of recreational shopping, and Hartman and Kiecker (1991) observed that purchase pals are commonly used when shopping for clothing.

A greater understanding of social shopping and how the social dimension of shopping influences consumers' perceptions of shopping as a leisure experience not only enriches our knowledge of social and nonsocial shoppers as well as recreational shopping, but also may help retailers develop more effective merchandising, store layout and design, and promotion strategies to target social and nonsocial shoppers as well as recreational and nonrecreational shoppers. In the following sections, the research framework is presented, hypotheses are developed, the research method is described, and the results are reported. Finally, the implications and limitations of the study are discussed and directions for future research are outlined.

RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

Shopping as Leisure

The notion that shopping is a form of recreation or leisure for some consumers has been acknowledged in the marketing and sociology literature. In an early shopper typology study, Bellenger, Robertson, and Greenberg (1977) classified consumers as convenience or recreational shoppers based on their level of interest in shopping as a leisure activity. Recreational shoppers had "a very high level of interest in shopping as a leisure-time activity," whereas convenience shoppers' level of interest was "very low" (pp. 36-37). In subsequent research, Bellenger and Korgaonkar (1980) defined recreational shoppers as "those who enjoy shopping as a leisure-time activity," contrasting them with "convenience shoppers" who experienced no pleasure from the shopping process per se (p. 78). Westbrook and Black (1985) performed a cluster analysis based on shopping motivations and identified a "shopping-process involved" cluster that they concluded corresponded to Bellenger and Korgaonkar's recreational shopper. In a qualitative study, Prus and Dawson (1991) identified recreational shopping orientations as embracing "notions of shopping as interesting, enjoyable, entertaining and leisurely activity" (p. 149). Lunt and Livingstone (1992) identified five shopping groups, one of which was leisure shoppers, who found shopping "pleasurable" (p. 90). In another qualitative study, Lehtonen and Maenpaa (1997) differentiated recreational or pleasurable shopping from "shopping as a necessary maintenance activity," characterizing it as being "an end in itself, playful, hedonistic, and experiential" (p. 144). The work of Westbrook and Black, Prus and Dawson, and Lehtonen and Maenpaa are notable since they began to capture the idea that recreational shopping encompasses more than simple enjoyment.

In recent research that has focused on scale development to measure the hedonic and experiential aspects of shopping, a more complete picture of recreational shopping has emerged. Babin et al. (1994) developed a scale measuring hedonic and utilitarian shopping value, where the former captures such qualities as joy, excitement, intrinsic satisfaction, escape, adventure, fantasy, and sensory stimulation. Mathwick et al. (2001) developed a multidimensional measure of retail "experiential value," with one of the dimensions being "playfulness," which is related to the concept of recreational shopping. Arnold and Reynolds (2003) developed a six-dimensional measure of hedonic shopping motives including dimensions such as adventure, gratification, and idea shopping. Most recently, Guiry et al. (2006) found that recreational shopping as a leisure activity can be considered a form of "serious leisure" (Stebbins, 1982), and that those consumers with a strong recreational shopper identity realize higher levels of perceived leisure (e.g., intrinsic satisfaction, arousal, and mastery) when shopping. These latter studies support the notion that shopping as leisure or recreation invokes gratifications beyond simple enjoyment as a number of the identified components or dimensions have been found to constitute a leisure experience (e.g., Jackson, 1991; Shaw, 1985; Unger & Kernan, 1983). In addition, of interest to the present research, a number of studies highlighted in this section recognize the social characteristics of recreational shoppers (Bellenger & Korgaonkar, 1980) and the social benefits associated with recreational or hedonic shopping (Arnold & Reynolds, 2003; Lehtonen & Maenpaa, 1997; Westbrook & Black, 1985). In the next section, prior research that addresses social motives for shopping is reviewed.

Social Shopping Motives

Past research on shopper typologies and shopping motivations has revealed social motives for shopping. Stone (1954) first identified a "personalizing" shopper, who seeks personal relationships with store personnel while shopping. A study by the Chicago Tribune (1955) found that some shoppers viewed shopping as an outing or all day affair to socialize with friends, while Downs (1961) proposed that consumers received a number of experiential benefits from shopping, including enjoyment from socializing with friends met at stores. Tauber (1972) also recognized that shopping provides opportunities for social interaction outside the home, communicating with others having similar interests, and affiliation with peer or aspirational groups. In addition, Westbrook and Black (1985) identified "affiliation," which included "shopping with friends as a social occasion" and "talking with salespeople and other shoppers" who have common interests, as a shopping motivation (p. 90). Of the six shopper clusters identified in their research, the aforementioned "shopping-process involved" cluster realized the highest level of satisfaction from affiliation. As mentioned at the onset of this paper, research on purchase pals has recognized that purchase pals help satisfy social motives (Hartman & Kiecker, 1991; Kiecker & Hartman, 1993). In a study of mall shoppers, Bloch, Ridgway, and Dawson (1994) found that "Mall Enthusiasts," who are akin to recreational shoppers, are more likely to satisfy social needs when in a shopping mall than the other three groups of mall shoppers uncovered in their research. Lehtonen and Maenpaa (1997) discuss how shopping "provides a means for the creation and maintenance of social relations" since it is a way to spend time together and "makes possible the shared creation of taste and style" (p. 151). Most recently, Arnold and Reynolds (2003) developed a six-dimensional measure of hedonic shopping motives that includes "social shopping" as one of the motives. They defined social shopping as "the enjoyment of shopping with friends and family, socializing while shopping, and bonding with others while shopping" (p. 80). Of the five shopper segments identified in their research, "Enthusiasts," who appear similar to recreational shoppers, scored the highest on social shopping motivations.

While these studies acknowledge the pervasiveness of social motives for shopping, there is a lack of knowledge regarding how the realization of social motives influences or interacts with the experiential or hedonic aspects of a consumer's shopping experience, in particular the recreational shopper. Since "recreational shoppers" are more likely than "convenience shoppers" to enjoy social interaction and activities outside the home, in addition to being more likely to shop with others (Bellenger & Korgaonkar, 1980), "shopping-process involved" shoppers realize the highest level of satisfaction from affiliation when compared to other types of shoppers (Westbrook & Black, 1985), "Mall Enthusiasts" are more likely to satisfy social needs while in a shopping mall than other types of mall patrons (Bloch et al., 1994), and "Enthusiasts" have the strongest social shopping motives among different shopper segments (Arnold & Reynolds, 2003), the social dimension of recreational shopping demands further attention. Moreover, social interaction may be the most important benefit of leisure participation (Iso-Ahola, 1999). As suggested by Prus (1993), it seems prudent to examine the social dimension of shopping within the context of recreational and nonrecreational shopping. Conceptualizing shopping as a leisure experience provides a context for examining how the social dimension of shopping influences the experiential or hedonic aspects of the recreational and nonrecreational shopping experience.

Dimensions of Leisure

Unger and Kernan (1983) identified six major determinants of the subjective leisure experience based on their review of the leisure literature: 1) intrinsic satisfaction, 2) perceived freedom, 3) involvement, 4) arousal, 5) mastery, and 6) spontaneity. As noted earlier, a number of these dimensions have been found to characterize hedonic shopping or are associated with shopping as leisure (Arnold & Reynolds, 2003; Babin et al., 1994; Guiry et al., 2006). A brief description of each dimension follows which includes noting the overlap between the leisure and hedonic dimensions.

Unger and Kernan describe intrinsic satisfaction as the "essence of leisure" (p. 382) alluding to its purely pleasurable character. Within this dimension, leisure is seen as intrinsically motivated and as an end in itself. Three items in Babin et al.'s (1994, p. 651) scale, i.e., "The shopping trip was truly a joy," "Compared to other things I could have done, the time spent shopping was truly enjoyable," and "I enjoyed this shopping trip for its own sake, not just for the items I may have purchased," appear to tap this dimension of leisure.

Leisure is also described as being free or voluntary, i.e., one is not forced or obligated to participate in an activity. One of the items used by Unger and Kernan in the Perceived Freedom subscale to capture this dimension is "Not because I have to but because I want to would characterize it" (p. 387). Similarly, the following item in Babin et al.'s scale, "I continued to shop, not because I had to, but because I wanted to" (p. 651), seems to measure this aspect of leisure.

The third dimension, i.e., involvement, refers to the feelings of escape and total absorption within the activity. Stebbins (1982) has referred to this type of deep involvement in an activity as "serious leisure." This dimension of leisure is seen in three items in Babin et al.'s scale (p. 651), i.e., "This shopping trip truly felt like an escape," "I enjoyed being immersed in exciting new products." and "While shopping, I was able to forget my problems," as well as the adventure and gratification dimensions of Arnold and Reynolds' (2003) hedonic shopping motivations scale.

Arousal refers to the stimulation that occurs from the novelty-seeking, exploration, and risk-taking behavior in leisure. Two items in Babin et al.'s scale, "I enjoyed being immersed in exciting new products" (p. 651) and "During the trip, I felt the excitement of the hunt" (p. 651), correspond with this dimension as does Arnold and Reynolds' measure of idea shopping.

Closely related to arousal, is mastery (Unger & Kernan, 1983). Through leisure, one has the opportunity to test oneself, realize a sense of adventure, or conquer the environment by being an expert or developing outstanding ability. Babin et al. capture this dimension with the following item, "While shopping, I felt a sense of adventure" (p. 651), while elements of mastery are seen in Arnold and Reynolds' adventure shopping and value shopping scales.

The last dimension is spontaneity, which means that leisure is not an obligatory activity. It is characterized as being unplanned, spontaneous, and spur-of-the moment (Unger & Kernan, 1983). In Babin et al.'s scale, the item, "I had a good time because I was able to act on the spur-of-the-moment" (p. 561), represents this dimension of leisure.

To measure these six dimensions, Unger and Kernan (1983) developed a 26-item Leisure Dimensions scale. Using this scale, they found that three of these dimensions--intrinsic satisfaction, perceived freedom, and involvement--were present across a variety of situational contexts, while the remaining three determinants were more activity specific. Although shopping was not specifically included as a situational context in their research, other researchers (e.g., McKechnie, 1974; Unger, 1984) have classified it under one of the situations, i.e., "easy/social" used by Unger and Kernan. Providing credence to using the Leisure Dimensions scale to study recreational shopping, Guiry et al. (2006) applied the scale in their research and found that all six dimensions of leisure were positively correlated with recreational shopping. However, this research does not address social aspects of recreational shopping, e.g., differentiate social and nonsocial recreational shoppers.

Social Interaction and Leisure

Research in the field of leisure has documented the importance of social interaction as an intrinsic reward of leisure (e.g., Crandall, 1980; Iso-Ahola, 1999; Samdahl, 1992). More specifically, in studies analyzing the relationship between need satisfaction and leisure activity participation, affiliation is a frequently cited need (Hawes, 1978; London, Crandall, & Fitzgibbons, 1977; Tinsley, Barrett, & Kass, 1977). In support of this proposition, Unger (1984) found that leisure situations that offered companionship enhanced the experience compared to participating alone, while Unger and Kernan (1983) found that the nature of a leisure activity's social situation (i.e., parallel/convenient, relational, or role-determined) and the type of activity (i.e., easy/social or craft) affected the leisure dimensions experienced. Intrinsic satisfaction, perceived freedom, and involvement were invariant across the different social situations and activities studied, while arousal, mastery, and spontaneity were more activity specific. Spontaneity was experienced in craft activities that are relational, while arousal and mastery were experienced in craft activities that are role-determined or parallel convenient. Of the social situations and activities studied by Unger and Kernan (1983) and Unger (1984), the relational social situation that is an easy/social activity appears to best describe a social shopping context from the point of view of the social shopper.

HYPOTHESES

This study is based on two premises: 1) shopping is a leisure activity for some consumers and not leisure for others, and 2) some consumers are social shoppers and others are nonsocial shoppers. The preceding discussion provides a framework for studying social shopping within the context of recreational shopping while at the same time differentiating social shoppers who are recreational shoppers from those who are not by conceptualizing shopping as a leisure experience to analyze the social dimension of shopping. Based on these two premises and the preceding discussion, the following hypotheses are proposed.

Unger and Kernan's (1983) finding that three dimensions of leisure-intrinsic satisfaction, perceived freedom, and involvement were invariant across situational contexts, leads to the following hypotheses depicted in Figure 1.

H1a Intrinsic satisfaction is positively related to one's preference for shopping as a leisure activity.

H1b Perceived freedom is positively related to one's preference for shopping as a leisure activity.

H1c Involvement is positively related to one's preference for shopping as a leisure activity.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The next hypothesis, also shown in Figure 1, stems from Unger's (1984) finding that leisure situations that offered companionship enhanced the experience compared to participating alone and research that has acknowledged that social interaction is an intrinsic reward of leisure (e.g., Crandall, 1980; Iso-Ahola, 1999).

H2 Social shopping is positively related to one's preference for shopping as a leisure activity.

As a result of the positive correlation found between recreational shopping and the six leisure dimensions (Guiry et al., 2006) and the positive benefits of social interaction in a leisure context (Unger, 1984), the following hypotheses were tested.

H3a Social recreational shoppers will experience higher levels of intrinsic satisfaction while shopping for clothing than recreational shoppers, social nonrecreational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers respectively.

H3b Social recreational shoppers will experience higher levels of perceived freedom while shopping for clothing than recreational shoppers, social nonrecreational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers respectively.

H3c Social recreational shoppers will experience higher levels of arousal while shopping for clothing than recreational shoppers, social nonrecreational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers respectively.

H3d Social recreational shoppers will experience higher levels of mastery while shopping for clothing than recreational shoppers, social nonrecreational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers respectively.

H3e Social recreational shoppers will experience higher levels of involvement while shopping for clothing than recreational shoppers, social nonrecreational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers respectively.

H3f Social recreational shoppers will experience higher levels of spontaneity while shopping for clothing than recreational shoppers, social nonrecreational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers respectively.

In light of Guiry et al.'s (2006) and Unger's (1984) research findings, for each of the above hypotheses, it is expected that social recreational shoppers will experience the highest level of the respective leisure dimension followed by nonsocial recreational shoppers, social nonreceational shoppers, and nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers. The hypothesized relationship between type of shopper (NSNR = nonsocial nonrecreational shopper, SNR = social nonrecreational shopper, NSR = nonsocial recreational shopper, and SR = social recreational shopper) and leisure dimension strength is shown in Figure 2. The depicted relationship is expected to hold true for each leisure dimension.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

METHOD

Data Collection

Survey questionnaires were distributed to a quota sample of consumers by undergraduate and MBA students in the author's classes at a medium size Northeastern university. In return for extra course credit and the opportunity to participate in a cash raffle, each student was asked to secure up to 10 respondents. Student participation was voluntary and each student was permitted to complete a survey him/herself. Firm guidelines on respondent eligibility were established to try to ensure a reasonable diversity of individuals and backgrounds.

Each questionnaire was accompanied by a blank envelope and cover letter describing the project as a study of consumer clothes shopping behavior. Anonymity was assured by instructing the respondent to seal the completed questionnaire in the envelope before returning it to the student and by assuring the respondent that the professor directing the project would be responsible for opening the envelope. The identity of approximately 10 percent of each interviewer's respondents was verified by the author through follow-up telephone calls. A total of 561 responses were obtained. A detailed profile of the respondents is presented in Table 1.

Measures

The questionnaire consisted of a series of scales and questions addressing the study's specific research questions. The coefficient alphas, means, and standard deviations for the multi-item scales used in the research are shown in Table 2.

Social shopping

Social shopping was assessed via an eight item scale shown in Table 3. The items in the scale were drawn from the literature on social shopping motives, an unpublished qualitative research study on shopping for clothing conducted by the author, and author intuition. A factor analysis of the scale showed that it is unidimensional, and Cronbach's alpha was computed to assess reliability. The factor scores for each item are given in Table 3.

Respondents indicated their level of agreement to each item on a 5-point scale anchored by "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree." In order to identify social shoppers and nonsocialshoppers, the sample was split into two groups using the midpoint of 24 of the eight item scale. The author reasoned that to be considered a social shopper, a respondent should score at least a 25 on the scale, indicating a tendency to agree more than disagree with the items. This procedure resulted in 43.6 percent of the 548 valid responses being classified as social shoppers and 56.4 percent being labeled nonsocial shoppers.

Recreational shopping

Recreational shopping was measured using Guiry et al.'s (2006) Recreational Shopper Identity scale. The 5 items were modified to reflect the behavioral context of shopping for clothing in a retail store and were measured on a 5-point Likert scale with 1 = "Strongly Disagree" and 5 = "Strongly Agree." To identify recreational shoppers and nonrecreational shoppers, the sample was split into two groups using the midpoint of 15 of the five item scale. The author reasoned that to be considered a recreational shopper, a respondent should score at least a 16 on the scale, indicating a tendency to agree more than disagree with the items. This procedure resulted in 27.1 percent of the 546 valid responses being classified as recreational shoppers and 72.9 percent being labeled nonrecreational shoppers.

Leisure dimensions and leisure preference

Unger and Kernan's (1983) Leisure Dimensions Scale was used to measure the six dimensions of a leisure experience. The 26 items were modified to reflect the behavioral context of shopping for clothing in a retail store and were measured on a 5-point Likert scale anchored by "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree." Respondents also indicated on a 5-point scale their level of agreement with the statement "shopping for clothing is among my favorite leisure activities." This scale is a modification of a single-item scale used by Unger and Kernan (1983) to measure leisure preference, considered a subjective measure of leisure.

Sociodemographic variables

Respondents were asked to indicate their age, gender, race/ethnic group, marital status, number of children living in their household, highest level of education completed, and annual household income before taxes.

RESULTS

Hypotheses 1a, 1b, 1c, and 2

Multiple regression analysis was used to test H1a, H1b, H1c, and H2 to determine the effects of intrinsic satisfaction, perceived freedom, involvement and the social shopping dimension on consumers' perception of shopping as a leisure activity. Additionally, from an exploratory perspective, the other three leisure dimensions (arousal, mastery, and spontaneity) were included as independent variables in the regression models to also test the effects of these dimensions on consumers' perceptions of shopping as a leisure activity. The regression results are presented in Table 4.

In the first model with the six dimensions of leisure as independent variables and Unger and Kernan's (1983) leisure preference scale as the dependent variable, intrinsic satisfaction, involvement, and arousal had significant positive effects on leisure preference, with intrinsic satisfaction having the strongest influence followed by involvement and arousal. Thus, there was support for H1a and H1c as intrinsic satisfaction and involvement were positively related to one's preference for shopping as a leisure activity. The other three leisure dimensions, including perceived freedom, were not significant predictors of leisure preference. Hence, H1b was not supported as perceived freedom did not have a significant effect on the dependent variable. This result may have been influenced by the low reliability of the perceived freedom scale. The findings regarding the effects of intrinsic satisfaction and involvement are consistent with Unger and Kernan's (1983) results.

Since Unger and Kernan (1983) found that feelings of arousal were present in craft activities, the significant effect of arousal suggests that when clothing shopping is a leisure activity, it may be perceived as a craft activity rather than an easy/social activity. This is also consistent with Tinsley et al.'s (1977) finding that feelings of arousal were not present in easy/social activities. Given clothing shopping may involve keeping up with trends and new fashions, putting outfits together, mixing and matching items, and accessorizing, it is reasonable to conclude that clothing shopping is considered a craft for some consumers. These aspects of clothing shopping are consistent with Arnold and Reynold's (2003) "idea shopping" motivation.

In support of H2, when social shopping was added to the previous model, it had a significant positive effect on leisure preference along with intrinsic satisfaction, involvement, and arousal. Intrinsic satisfaction still had the strongest effect on leisure preference in this model, followed by social shopping, involvement, and arousal. In this model, perceived freedom became marginally significant. The significant influence of social shopping on leisure preference is consistent with previous research that has recognized that companionship enhances the leisure experience (e.g., Iso-Ahola, 1999; Samdahl, 1992; Unger, 1984).

Hypotheses 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, and 3f

Before testing H3a, H3b, H3c, H3d, H3e, and H3f, the survey respondents were categorized into four different shopper groups using the Social Shopping and Recreational Shopper Identity (RSI) scales. The four groups are: 1) Nonsocial Nonrecreational (NSNR) shoppers, 2) Social Nonrecreational (SNR) shoppers, 3) Nonsocial Recreational (NSR) shoppers, and 4) Social Recreational (SR) shoppers. Respondents were classified using the following criteria. Respondents scoring less than 25 on the Social Shopping scale and less than 16 on the RSI scale were classified as Nonsocial Nonrecreational shoppers, while respondents with scores greater than 24 on the Social Shopping scale and less than 16 on the RSI scale were labeled Social Nonrecreational shoppers. Respondents scoring less than 25 on the Social Shopping scale and greater than 15 on the RSI scale were classified as Nonsocial Recreational shoppers, and respondents with scores greater than 24 on the Social Shopping scale and greater than 15 on the RSI scale were labeled Social Recreational shoppers.

After the shopper groups were identified, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with a least significance difference test was used to compare the four groups and test H3a, H3b, H3c, H3d, H3e, and H3f. The pertinent statistics for this analysis are shown in Tables 5 and 6.

SR shoppers attain a significantly higher level of intrinsic satisfaction shopping for clothing than SNR shoppers and NSNR shoppers. However, since they only attain a marginally significant higher level of intrinsic satisfaction than NSR shoppers, H3a is not supported.

SR shoppers realize significantly higher levels of perceived freedom shopping for clothing than the two groups of nonrecreational shoppers. Conversely, there was not a significant difference in the perceptions of perceived freedom between SR shoppers and NSR shoppers. Therefore, H3b is not supported. Again, the low reliability of the perceived freedom scale may have played a role in this finding.

In support of H3c, SR shoppers experience significantly higher levels of arousal shopping for clothing than the other three groups of shoppers. NSR shoppers experience the second highest level followed by SNR shoppers and NSNR shoppers in descending order.

SR shoppers realize significantly higher levels of mastery shopping for clothing than the two nonrecreational shopping groups. Yet, there was not a significant difference in the perceptions of mastery between SR shoppers and NSR shoppers. Thus, H3d is not supported.

In support of H3e, SR shoppers realize significantly higher levels of involvement shopping for clothing than the other three groups of shoppers. NSR shoppers realize the second highest level followed by SNR shoppers and NSNR shoppers in descending order.

Lastly, SR shoppers experience significantly higher levels of spontaneity shopping for clothing than the SNR shoppers and NSNR shoppers. There was not a significant difference in the perceptions of spontaneity between SR shoppers and NSR shoppers. Consequently, H3f is not supported.

To summarize the results pertaining to H3a, H3b, H3c, H3d, H3e, and H3f, support was found for H3c and H3e as SR shoppers experience significantly higher levels of arousal and involvement shopping for clothing than the other three shopper groups. Additionally, for both leisure dimensions, NSR shoppers experience the second highest level of each dimension, followed by SNR shoppers and NSNR shoppers in descending order. The research results did not give support for H3a, H3b, H3d, and H3f since even though SR shoppers realize significantly higher levels of intrinsic satisfaction, perceived freedom, mastery, and spontaneity than SNR and NSNR shoppers, SR shoppers and NSR shoppers did not significantly differ in their perceptions of these four leisure dimensions while shopping for clothing. In sum, when comparing the shopping experiences of SR shoppers and NSR shoppers, the social dimension of shopping seems to enhance the level of arousal and involvement experienced by SR shoppers.

Demographic Correlates

A limited number of differences were found among the four types of shoppers when comparing their demographic and socioeconomic profiles as shown in Table 5. A higher percentage of females than males were in each shopper group, although no differences were observed with respect to the gender makeup of each group. NSNR shoppers were older than the other three groups, but no differences in age were found across the other three shopper groups. The only difference found regarding income was NSNR shoppers had a higher level of income than SNR shoppers and SR shoppers. With regards to marital status, NSNR shoppers had the highest percentage of married couples, followed by SNR shoppers, SR shoppers, and NSR shoppers in descending order. The only difference found with respect to number of children was NSNR shoppers had more children than SNR shoppers and SR shoppers. This finding is consistent with the previously mentioned differences in age and marital status among the groups. NSNR shoppers were predominately Caucasian, whereas the other three shopping groups were predominately non-Caucasian. SNR shoppers and NSR shoppers had a similar ethnic makeup, while SR shoppers had the lowest percentage of Caucasians. Lastly, no differences were observed across the four groups with respect to level of education.

CONCLUSION AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS

This study extends past research on recreational shopping and social motives for shopping by recognizing that social shopping may be part of both recreational shopping and nonrecreational shopping, identifying two groups of recreational shoppers: 1) social recreational shoppers and 2) nonsocial recreational shoppers and two groups of nonrecreational shoppers: 1) social nonrecreational shoppers and 2) nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers, and comparing the shopper groups' perceptions of leisure while shopping. In addition, the study examines the influence of the six major dimensions of subjective leisure and social shopping on consumers' preference for shopping as a leisure activity.

The results showed that social recreational shoppers experienced higher levels of involvement and arousal shopping for clothing than nonsocial recreational shoppers did. Nonsocial recreational shoppers realized higher levels of intrinsic satisfaction, perceived freedom, involvement, arousal, and mastery than social nonrecreational shoppers did, and social nonrecreational shoppers perceived higher levels of intrinsic satisfaction, involvement, arousal, mastery, and spontaneity than nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers did.

The higher levels of involvement and arousal experienced by social recreational shoppers compared to nonsocial recreational shoppers suggest that social recreational shoppers have a more complete or rewarding leisure experience than nonsocial recreational shoppers. In support of this contention, a deeper level of involvement in a leisure activity corresponds to Stebbins' (1982) view of "serious leisure," and the novelty of the shopping experience as expressed through the arousal dimension may make the experience more interesting and challenging for the "serious leisure" shopper creating a state of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). This also concurs with Iso-Ahola's (1999) view that intrinsic leisure motivation encompasses seeking optimum levels of sensory stimulation and arousal while at the same time avoiding or escaping everyday problems or routines. As noted in an earlier section of the paper, the involvement dimension incorporates elements of escape and absorption.

The differences in leisure dimension perceptions between nonsocial recreational shoppers and social nonrecreational shoppers is not surprising given recreational shoppers are being compared with nonrecreational shoppers. Yet when comparing the two groups of nonrecreational shoppers, the social dimension of shopping appears to enhance the shopping experience of social nonrecreational shoppers versus nonsocial nonrecreational shoppers.

The research also showed that three dimensions of leisure (intrinsic satisfaction, involvement, and arousal) as well as social shopping are significant predictors of consumers' perception of shopping as a leisure activity. With the exception of intrinsic satisfaction, which had a marginally significant pairwise comparison difference, these results are consistent with the aforementioned differences observed between social recreational shoppers and nonsocial recreational shoppers.

The findings of this research suggest several implications for retailers. First, the different shopper groups identified in this study can be considered different segments of shoppers, enabling retailers to develop more effective merchandising, store layout and design, and promotion strategies to target the different types of social shoppers and the different types of recreational shoppers. For retailers to attract and retain recreational shoppers as customers, it is necessary to create a store environment that enables social and nonsocial recreational shoppers to experience the various leisure dimensions while shopping. In the case of social recreational shoppers, periodically altering floor layouts, modifying the store atmosphere, and updating the merchandise mix with new items should keep the shopping experience interesting and "challenging" to foster a deeper level of involvement. With respect to social recreational and social nonrecreational shoppers, retailers should consider ways to facilitate the social experience its customers can have by creating an inviting and communal atmosphere that encourages interaction and supports social shopping. Designing the store with wide aisles, ample shopping space, gathering/relaxation areas, and a decorative, stylish, and comfortable centralized fitting salon would seemingly enhance the social shopper's experience. An example of a store using this approach is TANGS (Toh, 2009).

Finally, advertising and other communication efforts designed to attract recreational shoppers should not only focus on the merchandise the store offers but also exclaim the experiential aspects of shopping at the store, with greater emphasis on involvement and arousal facilitating aspects of the store if the goal is to target social recreational shoppers. For both groups of social shoppers, communication should speak about and/or depict the affiliation/social aspects/benefits provided. For example, using advertising that shows two family members or friends enjoying each other's company while shopping together.

LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH

There are several limitations to this research. First, social shopping and nonsocial shopping were investigated only in a clothing shopping context. Future research, should consider other product categories (e.g., home furnishings, personal care/grooming products, electronics) to examine variations at the product category level. Second, the study was not based on a representative sample of the population. As a result the sample was skewed towards younger consumers, who are single and well educated. Still, the 20-29 year old age group, which made up the majority of the sample, is an important segment for retailers to target given its size and spending power (Zhang, Carpenter, & Brosdahl, 2011). Nevertheless, a representative sample survey, should be used in future research. Third, the results reported here were based only on self-report data, which may have been subject to social desirability bias or other "interview evaluation" concerns. Future research that augments survey methodology with observation and/ethnographic research is warranted. Finally, the study measured the social dimension of shopping and recreational shopping at one point in time. A longitudinal study would help determine if social/nonsocial shoppers and recreational/nonrecreational shoppers are static, change over time, or become static after a period of time.

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Michael Guiry, University of the Incarnate Word
Table 1: Sample Sociodemographics
Descriptive Statistics

Gender                  Percent

Male                     43.3
Female                   56.7

Age

19 or younger             8.8
20-29                    54.8
30-39                    15.4
40-49                    10.2
50-59                     3.8
60 or older               7.2

Race/Ethnic Group

African-American         15.2
Asian                    26.3
Caucasian                46.1
Hispanic                  5.7
Other                     6.8

Marital Status

Never Married            61.2
Married                  29.5
Separated/Divorced        4.1
Other                     5.2

Number of Children

None                     63.6
One                      15.7
Two                      10.9
Three                     6.7
Four or More              3.1

Education

High School               2.7
High School Graduate     15.2
College                  34.9
College Degree           26.9
Graduate School           8.9
Graduate Degree          11.4

Annual Household Income

Less than $20,000        15.6
$20,000-$39,999          25.2
$40,000-$59,999          26.0
$60,000-$79,999          16.2
$80,000-$99,999           7.4
$100,000 or more          9.7

Table 2: Coefficient Alphas, Means and Standard Deviations for
Multi-Item Scales

Social Shopping          N    Number     [alpha]   Mean    Standard
                              of Items                     Deviation

Recreational Shopping   548      8         .83     39.00     6.00

Leisure Dimensions      546      5         .84     12.63     4.27

  Intrinsic             549      3         .80     9.22      2.89
    Satisfaction
  Perceived Freedom     544      5         .54     17.15     3.12
  Arousal               550      4         .74     11.53     3.10
  Mastery               548      4         .75     9.92      3.17
  Involvement           537      5         .80     12.75     4.19
  Spontaneity           540      5         .86     14.73     4.44

Table 3: Social Shopping Scale

Item                               Factor
                                  Loadings

Shopping for clothing is most       .752
  enjoyable when I go with
  another person.

I enjoy going shopping for          .719
  clothing with other people
  even if I do not plan to buy
  something.

I enjoy helping a shopping          .714
  companion while he/she is
  shopping for clothing.

The best part of going shopping     .705
  for clothing is being with my
  family and/or friends.

I have a favorite shopping          .663
  companion when I go shopping
  for clothing.

I enjoy being complimented by a     .641
  shopping companion when I am
  shopping for clothing.

A central part of my friendship     .624
  or relationship with another
  person is going shopping for
  clothing together.

Shopping for clothing is a          .612
  social event.

Table 4: Results of Multiple Regression Analysis

Dependent and       Stnd.       t      Sig.   Stnd.      t      Sig.
Independent         Coeff.                   Coeff.
Variables            Beta                     Beta

Dependent: Leisure
  Preference

Independent:

Intrinsic            .414     9.078    .000   .390     8.618    .000
  Satisfaction

Perceived Freedom    .053     1.627    .104   .054     1.680    .094

Arousal              .187     3.798    .000   .151     3.101    .002

Mastery             -.027    -0.555    .579  -.038    -0.797    .426

Involvement          .259     5.552    .000   .227     4.915    .000

Spontaneity         -.009    -0.267    .790  -.020    -0.596    .554

Social Shopping                               .167     4.818    .000

R Square             .584                     .603

Table 5: Means and Percentages for Key Variables for Types of Shoppers

                              NonSocial     Social      NonSocial
                               NonRec       NonRec     Recreational
                              Shoppers     Shoppers      Shoppers

N (a)                          227-259     122-134        41-47

Leisure Dimensions

  Intrinsic Satisfaction        7.73         9.79         10.70
  Perceived Freedom             16.58       17.03         18.21
  Arousal                       9.96        11.86         13.22
  Mastery                       8.41        10.19         11.87
  Involvement                   10.43       13.09         15.40
  Spontaneity                   13.29       15.14         16.43

Demographic/Socioeconomics

  Age (b)                     4.55 (d)    3.28 (d,e)    3.11 (d,e)
  Education                   3.58 (e)     3.59 (e)      3.51 (e)
  Income (b)                  5.96 (d)    5.00 (d,e)     5.46 (e)
  Number of Children (b)      1.88 (d)    1.56 (d,e)     1.61 (e)
  Percentage Married (c)        39.5         24.6          10.9
  Percentage Caucasian (c)      60.2         39.8          37.8
  Percentage female             51.0         63.4          59.6

                                 Social
                              Recreational
                                Shoppers

N (a)                            90-101

Leisure Dimensions

  Intrinsic Satisfaction         11.54
  Perceived Freedom              18.17
  Arousal                        14.39
  Mastery                        12.56
  Involvement                    16.91
  Spontaneity                    16.94

Demographic/Socioeconomics

  Age (b)                      3.01 (d,e)
  Education                       3.65
  Income (b)                   5.12 (d,e)
  Number of Children (b)       1.55 (d,e)
  Percentage Married (c)          17.8
  Percentage Caucasian (c)        20.0
  Percentage female               61.4

(a): N's vary because of missing date.

(b): One way ANOVA significant at p < .05

(c): Pearson Chi-Square significant at p <.05

(d): Pairwise comparisons significant at p <.05

(e): Pairwise comparisons are not significant at p<.05

Table 6: ANOVA and Pairwise Comparison with LSD Results

Dependent Variable       Type of          Type of        Mean
                       Shopper (b)      Shopper (b)    Difference
                           (A)              (B)          (A-B)

Intrinsic            NSNR Shoppers      SNR Shoppers     -2.07
  Satisfaction (a)                      NSR Shoppers     -2.97
                                        SR Shoppers      -3.81

                     SNR Shoppers       NSR Shoppers      -91
                                        SR Shoppers      -1.74

                     NSR Shoppers       SR Shoppers      -0.83

Perceived            NSNR Shoppers      SNR Shoppers     -0.45
  Freedom (a)                           NSR Shoppers     -1.63
                                        SR Shoppers      -1.59

                     SNR Shoppers       NSR Shoppers     -1.18
                                        SR Shoppers      -1.14

                     NSR Shoppers       SR Shoppers       0.04

Arousal (a)          NSNR Shoppers      SNR Shoppers     -1.91
                                        NSR Shoppers     -3.26
                                        SR Shoppers      -4.44

                     SNR Shoppers       NSR Shoppers     -1.35
                                        SR Shoppers      -2.53

                     NSR Shoppers       SR Shoppers      -1.18

                     NSNR Shoppers      SNR Shoppers     -1.78
                                        NSR Shoppers     -3.46
                                        SR Shoppers      -4.15

                     SNR Shoppers       NSR Shoppers     -1.68
                                        SR Shoppers      -2.37

                     NSR Shoppers       SR Shoppers      -0.69

Involvement (a)      NSNR Shoppers      SNR Shoppers     -2.66
                                        NSR Shoppers     -4.97
                                        SR Shoppers      -6.47

                     SNR Shoppers       NSR Shoppers     -2.31
                                        SR Shoppers      -3.81

                     NSR Shoppers       SR Shoppers      -1.50

Sponataneity (a)     NSNR Shoppers      SNR Shoppers     -1.84
                                        NSR Shoppers     -3.13
                                        SR Shoppers      -3.64

                     SNR Shoppers       NSR Shoppers     -1.29
                                        SR Shoppers      -1.80

                     NSR Shoppers       SR Shoppers      -0.51

Dependent Variable   Sig.

Intrinsic            .000
  Satisfaction (a)   .000
                     .000

                     .030
                     .000

                     .056

Perceived            .169
  Freedom (a)        .001
                     .000

                     .022
                     .005

                     .942

Arousal (a)          .000
                     .000
                     .000

                     .002
                     .000

                     .010

                     .000
                     .000
                     .000

                     .000
                     .000

                     .154

Involvement (a)      .000
                     .000
                     .000

                     .000
                     .000

                     .012

Sponataneity (a)     .000
                     .000
                     .000

                     .070
                     .002

                     .495

(a): One way ANOPVA significant at p <.05

(b): NSNR = Nonsocial Nonrecreational; SNR = Social Nonrecreational;
NSR = Nonsocial Recreational; SR = Social Recreational
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Author:Guiry, Michael
Publication:Academy of Marketing Studies Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 18, 2012
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