Environmental Factors Affecting Retail Consumers

Several environmental factors influence shopping attitudes and behavior, including:

  • State of the economy
  • Consumer confidence about the future
  • Country of residence (industrialized versus developing)
  • Cost of living in the person’s region or city of residence
  • Rate of inflation (how quickly prices are rising)
  • Infrastructure where people shop, such as traffic congestion, the crime rate, and the ease of parking
  • Price wars among retailers
  • Emergence of new retail formats
  • Emergence of new technologies
  • Trend toward more people working at home
  • Government and community regulations regarding shopping hours, new construction, con­sumer protection, and so forth
  • Evolving societal values and norms
  • Digital presence and convenience of shopping at the retailer’s Web site or mobile app

Although all of these elements may not necessarily have an impact on any particular shopper, they do influence the retailer’s overall target market.

When planning the retail strategy that they offer their customers, companies should consider the customers’ standard of living, including family size; discretionary income after spending for health, recreation, and social services; and consumer confidence in their financial future. Unem­ployment, low wages, crowded living conditions, and physical calamities may bring a drop in the standard of living; and an increase in social benefits and higher wages may bring a rise. The standard of living varies from nation to nation, and international comparisons are sometimes made by analyzing per capita income or any number of other indicators.

Source: Barry Berman, Joel R Evans, Patrali Chatterjee (2017), Retail Management: A Strategic Approach, Pearson; 13th edition.

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