Does e-shopping replace shopping trips? Evidence from China

With the growth of e-retailing, the question of how e-shopping affects shopping travel has attracted increasing attention. To date, however, research has failed to reach a consensus on this topic. Meanwhile, China, where currently the highest level of e-retail shopping in the world takes place, has not in the scope of previous studies.

Using data from structured interviews with 710 respondents in Chengdu, China, researchers have explored whether e-shopping for four types of goods (clothes and shoes, electronics, food and drink, and cosmetics) replaces shopping trips. In addition, regression models were constructed to demonstrate the determinants of e-shopping and shopping travel behaviors. The results suggest that consumers’ e-shopping and shopping travel behaviors are significantly determined by sociodemographics, internet experience, car ownership, and location factors.

E-shopping has a substitution effect on the frequency of shopping trips. On the other hand, people who do not have a private car normally make a shopping trip to stores on foot or by public transportation.
Meanwhile, the results indicate that, compared to people who own a private car, those who do not own a private car are more likely to substitute e-shopping for shopping trips. Hence, it could be concluded that e-shopping can reduce the travel demand for public transportation to a certain extent. It is suggested that e-shopping could be regarded as a possible solution for urban congestion.

Source: Shi, K., De Vos, J., Yang, Y., & Witlox, F. (2019). Does e-shopping replace shopping trips? Empirical evidence from Chengdu, China. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 122, 21-33.

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