Retail shopping behaviour: a comparison of Australian and Canadian shopping time

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Vitartas, P & Yacyshyn, A 2010, 'Retail shopping behaviour: a comparison of Australian and Canadian shopping time', paper presented to 32nd IATUR Conference: time-budgets and beyond: the timing of daily life, Paris, France, 7-10 July, IATUR.


Australia and Canada have many similarities – they have relatively similar populations, a vast land mass and a cultural heritage based on European civilisation. Their economic development was based, in the early part, on agriculture and more recently on services and resources. In terms of their retail development both countries have followed the US retail model of malls and the concept of one-stop shopping. Indeed the two countries share many of the same named retailers.

The acquisition of goods by consumers is an important part of the consumption process. Consumers spend time on search, information acquisition, selection and purchase as part of this process. An understanding of the amount of time spent on the acquisiton process provides marketers with an understanding of consumer behaviour decisions. The allocation of time to shopping is also an important issue for retailers and mall managers. Previous research has shown that the longer shoppers stay in malls, the higher their shopping spend. Travel time as a component of the acquisition process can be expected to influence how people allocate their time to the shopping task. It is expected that people living further from retail outlets plan their shopping trips more carefully, shopping less often but for longer periods of time. Yet little is know about the relationship between shopping time and travel time. Further, time pressure is a factor that reduces the available time for tasks and has also been shown to affect shopping behaviour.

This paper investigates the differences in retail shopping time between the two countries with a focus on the impact of travel time and time pressure on shopping behaviour. Demographic and personal characteristics are examined using data from the 2006 Australian time use survey and the Canadian 2005 general social survey – time use. Implications of the findings are discussed for social policy and retail managers.