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Is e-shopping likely to reduce shopping trips for car owners? A propensity score matching analysis

Kunbo Shi, Rui Shao, Jonas De Vos, Long Cheng and Frank Witlox

Journal of Transport Geography, 2021, vol. 95, issue C

Abstract: Reducing car use is commonly considered as a potential strategy to reduce transport-related problems such as traffic congestion and air pollution. The increasing use of online shopping may potentially replace shopping trips, thus possibly reducing car use. However, car owners – compared to non-car owners – can more easily visit physical stores and transport goods. Therefore, it can be assumed that online shopping is less likely to reduce shopping trips for car owners. Using 653 structured face-to-face interviews in Chengdu (China) in 2016, an empirical study is conducted. The results show that 44.0% of respondents indicated a decrease in shopping trip frequency after they started to purchase online, while only 14.4% indicated an increase in the frequency. This confirms that online shopping tends to be a substitute for shopping trips. Applying a propensity score matching approach, this paper further compares the likelihoods of changes in shopping trips caused by online buying between car owners and non-car owners, while considering sociodemographic factors, internet experiences, spatial attributes, and online shopping attitudes as covariates. The results indicate that – due to online buying – shopping trip frequency is less likely to decrease for car owners compared to non-car owners, while there is no significant difference in the likelihood of increasing shopping trip frequency between owners and non-owners. These findings imply that online shopping may not effectively reduce driving, thus unlikely being a valid solution for transportation problems resulting from the increasing use of cars.

Keywords: E-shopping; Shopping trips; Car ownership; Propensity score matching; Chengdu (China) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2021.103132

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