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Identifying the geography of online shopping adoption in Belgium

Joris Beckers, Ivan Cárdenas and Ann Verhetsel

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2018, vol. 45, issue C, 33-41

Abstract: The widespread adoption of the internet as retail channel is impacting a range of stakeholders. Retailers are expected to sell online, logistics operators are required to reconfigure their supply chain and public authorities try to keep local retail competitive while simultaneously attempt to manage the increase in freight transport. Within this context, a growing body of research is studying the socio-economic profile of the online shopper and the spatial variation in the demand for B2C goods. Yet, as can be expected for a relatively new evolution, little consensus exist. Therefore, in this paper, with data from the national retail federation on online shopping behaviour, we add to this growing field by first analysing the relation between socio-economic characteristics and the willingness to shop online. By mapping these characteristics, we then construct the geography of online shopping adoption in Belgium. Finally, we assess the impacts of this specific geography for the stakeholders that are adapting to this new reality. We conclude firstly that the well-educated man in his thirties with a well-paid job has the highest probability to shop online, independent of the level of urbanisation of the area he resides. Secondly, we predict over- and underestimations of the potential online buyers of up to 50% when assuming a homogeneous e-commerce penetration, especially in poorer urban areas. This implies a serious negligence for e-commerce practitioners and academics when ignoring the specific geography of the online shopping adoption.

Keywords: Geography; E-commerce; City logistics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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