Hypermarkets have emerged as an important retail format in many parts of the world. The purpose of this paper is to explore consumer behaviour towards store preferences, particularly hypermarkets, in Oman.
Following a mixed method approach, primary data, collected mainly using questionnaires and focus groups, were analysed to reveal consumer preferences. After pilot testing, 300 structured questionnaires were administered, of which 164 completed questionnaires were accepted for analysis. Data on store choice attributes were collected and analysed to reveal respondents’ preferences. Respondents’ characteristics were also measured using socio-demographic variables and were compared with their purchasing behaviour.
By offsetting traditional markets, hypermarkets have emerged as one of the important retail formats in the urban areas of Oman. Their emergence has impacted trade in the traditional markets, the souqs. A weekly trip to the hypermarket is becoming an established feature of Omani life. Employed, educated or prosperous Omani consumers and expatriates prefer hypermarkets and these preferences surge during hot weather conditions. Consumers visit hypermarkets not only for purchases but also for recreation. Several factors affect consumer choice of hypermarkets in Oman, and these are listed in the outcomes of the study.
This study mainly focusses on consumers from selected hypermarkets in the Muscat and the Batinah regions of Oman. Although these regions are home to more than half of the Omani population, similar studies on other prominent regions will help in generalizing the preferences of consumers.
Beyond an academic investigation to better understand the issue, the findings are important to help policy makers, town planners, and retailers better understand, plan, and evolve a consumer friendly retail sector. The findings will also help in understanding the regional imbalances in retailing activities, locally and globally.
The findings will help in the planning of certain retail policies to assure the notion of accessibility, affordability, and availability of global products and services to Omani consumers and also in striking a balance between traditional and modern retail formats to maintain diversity, growth, and overall consumer satisfaction.
This paper furthers understanding of retailing issues in a conservative Islamic society in general; and in an area, Oman, that has not been covered before, in particular.
Belwal, R. and Belwal, S. (2014), "Hypermarkets in Oman: a study of consumers’ shopping preferences", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42 No. 8, pp. 717-732. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-02-2013-0043Download as .RIS
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