We test the hypothesis that in the University of Adelaide College, consumers tend to online than offline shopping. We investigated 50 examiners about their gender, age, preferences and supporting reasons for their choices.
With the advent of technology era, the Internet has penetrated into almost every nook of daily life. Several reports have found that consumers prefer online than traditional stores. If this is proved, it might be resulted from the merits of online shopping such as flexibility, security and personalization, or caused by generation, gender and educational level. Security, however, could lead to hesitation when choosing online shopping. There are 60 respondents from the University of Adelaide College participating survey to examine if the previous statement is true and if possible, to find out reasons.
Review of Literature
We cited three articles connected with this research project that provide a lot of information including statistics, explanation and survey methods. Previous studies in Georgia Southern University (2009) have emphasized that the usage of technology especially internet has increased the number of people who shop online instead of shop in traditional stores. The study was surveyed at shopping centre in the US with 264 surveys. Most of the examinees were aged between 18-30 and 61 and over. The result shows that online and offline shopping takes advantages for high age people and younger people. The reason that people prefer online shopping because is much easier to get information about the products and they have opportunities to compare prices at any time. However, they prefer offline shopping for social reasons such as shopping with friends. In term of gender, 32.6% of the respondents were male. In contrast, gender does impact the result of this study. Moreover, the study found that the number of online consumers will rise up by increasing the knowledge of utilization the internet. On the other hand, the study is too old and there are a lot of changes happened since 2009. However, the variables of this study take places in our survey questions. They analysis of data shows the reason why people seems to prefer online shopping.
To figure out the factors that promote people to shop in traditional stores, related questionnaire can be made to investigate shoppers. Aziz and Wahid (2018) have surveyed 154 students from University Technology MARA. The main questions are that the reasons for people who don’t prefer to shop online and the statements they are concerned about online purchases. For the first question, the most important reason is that they don’t trust the quality of online products and they worry about giving credit card and personal details. For the second question, people give the reasons that they worry about getting scammed by the seller and don’t believe in product quality and payment security. Hence, we conclude that the safety and product quality are factors encourage shoppers to purchase in traditional stores. However, we will only consider the factor of safety in our investigation and think more about other outstanding factors come from offline stores (such as ambiance, society and instant gratification).
The motivations of shopping are one of the dominant factors to choose the way of shopping. According to Jupiter’s Communications research, 77% of customers are goal-oriented. According to the article, there are 2 main attributions of both online and offline shopping respectively, namely freedom and control and experiential qualities. With regard to freedom and control, wide product selection to avoid out of stock, convenience of solving long distance and fast-downloaded apps with precise graphics, functions of comparing products and specific personalised recommendation are the merits of online shopping. On the other hand, bricks and mortar stores possess the quality of touching and trying, real-time customer services, no shipping and handling cost, after-sale services including returns and exchange and social communications with friends and salespeople. Furthermore, offline might demonstrate better performances of experiential qualities in several aspects. The data is collected from 9 groups, 4 Harris Interactive online groups, 3 MBA students and staff groups and 3 Southern California community groups respectively. Interviewee deemed ambiance, gorgeous decoration, sociality as a kind of entertainment, purchase stimulation, immediate satisfaction and purchase guarantee are their reasons for choosing bricks and mortar stores.
The literature demonstrates three aspects to which younger and well-educated females are more probably shop online than senior and less educated males, which higher risks of the Internet is one of the reasons promoting customers to shop in stores, which the paths to shop are chosen due to people’s motivations such as shopping experiences and product selection.
Our main hypothesis is that in the University of Adelaide College, People prefer to shop online than shop in traditional stores.
We have three hypotheses. Younger females account for a higher percentage of online shopping than junior males. Furthermore, high–touch products such as food are more suitable to be chosen in traditional stores whilst products with unified specifications such as books and electronics are popular in online shops. Additionally, convenience and safety are two main reasons for selecting online and offline shopping respectively.
We planned to examine this hypothesis by online survey. To test the main hypothesis we asked examiners to choose their preference online or offline shopping and both equally was one of the choices.
We tested the supporting hypothesis by asking the interviewee’s gender. Other option can be chosen in this part. According to Tabatabaei (2009), gender does not affect the result. To have more accurate result we follow this question by asking their age groups. This question contains 3 choices, which are under 25, 25-35, over 35. As stated by Tabatabaei (2009), both online and offline shopping are equally for younger and older people due to different reasons.
We surveyed two supporting hypotheses. According to two researches in 2001 and 2003, high touch products are required in traditional stores due to the need of try, smell or touch to inspect the intactness (Levin et al. 2003). On the other hand, low touch items such as airline tickets, book and stationery and CDs are more preferred in online stores to save time and avoiding stock outs. We assume that this hypothesis are also feasible in questionnaire, so we designed two questions to ask respondents preferences about online and offline shopping and tried to find if questionnaire can prove our hypothesis.
We have learned that convenience is the main reason for people to choose online shopping (Gilly & Wolfinbarger 2011), while safety is the main factor that drives people to choose offline shopping (Aziz & Wahid 2018). We examined this view by asking respondents’ reasons for choosing online shops and offline stores separately. To make the results more selectable, we gave four options for question 8 and question 9. People can also choose ‘others’ to specify their answers.
Our data were collected by sent the questionnaire to our classmates by using social media applications such as WhatsApp, Wechat and Messenger during the time between the 3th to 7th of November 2019. Some of the surveys were done by teachers from the college during class by scan QR code on their mobile phone.
We surveyed interviewees’ responses to the third question. There were 53 respondents to our survey questions.
We have found the proportions of people’s choices, which were 30.2% of respondents chose offline shopping whilst 18.9% of them preferred online shopping, and 50.9% of people were neutral.
In terms of age, we analysed that 33 respondents (62.3%) are under 25 years old, the number of people aged between 25 to 35 and over 35 is 8 (15.1%) and 12 (22.6%) respectively. With regard to gender, 33 (62.3%) of examiners were female whereas 20 (37.7%) of them were males.
Regarding the types of products, low touch products and high touch products are the most popular choices in online and offline stores respectively. In particular, 33 (63.5%) of respondents preferred to purchase books and stationery online and there were 44 (83%) of them choosing to buy foods in brick and mortar shops. Furthermore, convenience (73.1%) and safety (62.3%) are two major effects on shoppers’ selection.
The main hypothesis was that people in the University of Adelaide College are more likely to encourage online shopping than offline shopping. However, this hypothesis is not supported as the result shows that 29 (50.9%) of the respondents have chosen both online and offline are equally, while 16 (30.2%) prefer offline and 10 (18.9%) have selected online as a liking due to different reasons.
The number of females who are aged under 25 and prefer offline shopping is 21.7%, while the number of older male who are aged over 35 and like online shopping is 3.6%. This result can appear to that the age does not affect the choice of preference on the type of shopping. As we see high number of junior females and senior males are more likely to shop from traditional stores than online. On the other hand, the result may not be accurate because of the size of the sample was too small to compare the result.
Our first supporting hypothesis was the tendency of items in online and traditional stores respectively. With accordance to survey, it supported to a large extent. Foods(83%) and books and stationery(63.5%) are two dominant products which are selected in traditional and online shops. It is, however, an exception appeared in the result, which was clothes and electronics occupied the second and third biggest parts in both forms of stores. We analysed the effects might be the reasons for consumers’ selections such as convenience and instant gratification.
Our final supporting hypothesis was the factors that drive shoppers to purchase online and in brick and mortar stores separately. From the results of our questionnaire, 38(73.1%) of people choose convenience as a reason for online shopping, which means most of shoppers support and enjoy the convenience of online shopping. In addition, 33(62.3%) of people would like to purchase in brick and mortar stores because of safety, which also shows a negative factor of online shopping. However, we consider the results of the last question “ Why do you prefer to shop in brick and mortar stores?” is not accurate enough, especially for the options “Ambiance” and “Sociality”. Some respondents couldn’t clearly catch the specific meaning of these two words. It would be better if we could simply describe these two options rather than just use these two words.
Our survey cannot support hypothesis totally. The first possibility is the tiny number of volunteers. Although 54 is a reasonable number for a small questionnaire, it still cannot be a strong evidence to represent people’s preferences. The second possibility is that it may contain the fallacy of biased generalisation. All respondents are students and teachers in the University of Adelaide College, so the findings can only represent the specific groups. Furthermore, two articles that we refer to are dated. Online shopping was prevailing due to the fact that it was a recent invention during that time, and consumers first experienced the advantages of online shopping. Additionally, lack of consideration is one of the causes. We thought of the convenience of online shopping and ignored the necessity of traditional shops. Similarly, we overestimated the relevance of products type and properties of different shops, we found the pros and cons were not the only crucial factors. Finally, we summarise that offline shopping is more popular by now and properties of online and traditional shops influence consumers’ choices to some extent.
- Aziz, NNA & Wahid, NA 2018, ‘Why Consumers are Hesitant to Shop Online: The Major Concerns towards Online Shopping’, ehrmars, vol. 8, no. 9, pp. 1175-1185, viewed 22 October 2019, < http://hrmars.com/index.php/journals/papers/IJARBSS/v8-i9/4689>.
- Gilly, MC & Wolfinbarger, M 2011, ‘A comparison of consumer experiences with online and offline shopping’, eConsumption Markets & Culture, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 187-205, viewed 16 October 2019, < https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10253866.2000.9670355>.
- Tabatabaei, M 2009, ‘Online Shopping Perceptions of Offline Shoppers’, eIssues in Information Systems, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 22-26, viewed 17 October 2019, < https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/info-sys-facpubs/59/>.