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Online shopping as a substitute or complement to in-store shopping trips in T


Roya Etminani-Ghasrodashti , Shima Hamidi
Center for Transportation Equity Decision and Dollars (CTEDD), University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), Arlington, TX 76019, USA


Keywords: The rapid growth of information and communications technology (ICT) has brought significant changes in
Online shopping shopping-related travel behavior. However, little attention has been paid to remote connectivity-based options
In-store shopping in non-Western countries in terms of individuals' travel behavior and willingness to shop online rather than
Lifestyle travel to brick-and-mortar retailers. This study investigates the emergence of online shopping behavior among
Iranian people, who have experienced a recent and transformative boom in internet usage. To explore shopping
Built environment
behaviors, online and in-store shopping frequencies were examined through a comprehensive survey which
collected data from individuals in the Metropolitan of Shiraz. The predictive factors of online and in-store
shopping include internet experience, in-store shopping attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and built-environment
measures. The proportion of online shopping among the study population is remarkable despite the barriers to
access popular online applications in Iran. Employing Structural Equation Models, this study accounts for both
direct and indirect effects of key variables on both online and in-store shopping frequencies. Overall, our results
reveal that the most influential determinants of online versus in-store shopping frequencies include the built
environment, store-specific attributes, consumers' lifestyles and general attitudes. Other notable predictors of
online shopping are the frequency of pre-purchase online searching and driving as the primary travel mode.
Results suggest that in-store shopping has a complementary, rather than a purely adversarial, relationship with
online shopping frequency while online shopping also motivates individuals to do more in-store shopping. Thus,
while the ICT alternatives improve travel options, it is not always able to reduce shopping-related travel fre-
quencies in the regions with the cultural and economic situations such as Iran.

1. Introduction and services by Iranian consumers. Although only 12% of the total
transactions were conducted by cell phones and internet websites (the
Following the rapid growth of internet usage in Iran, consumers in remaining 88% were conducted by point-of-sale registers in brick-and-
that country are beginning to rely more on online shopping. Iran mortar stores), the rate of online shopping is rapidly increasing in Iran
has > 62 million internet users, making the country the second-most (Shaparak, 2017). The most popular e-commerce start-up in Iran, Di-
internet-connected in the Middle East (Internet World Stats, 2019a). gikala, is estimated to generate over $796 million in sales (Worth of
Iran as the 16th country in the world with highest number of internet web, 2018) and offers numerous categories of goods for direct purchase
users, have faced to > 65% of internet growth between 2000 and 2018 online. According to the economic report of Shaparak, > 83% of online
(Internet World Stats, 2019b). transactions is performed for online purchasing and the share of utility
This trend is due to multiple factors, such as the general con- payments and online banking is approximately 17% (Shaparak, 2019).
venience of online shopping and the risk of carrying large amounts of The rapid growth of online shopping has the potential to significantly
cash or credit cards while on shopping trips. According to recent reports impact the traditional (in-store) shopping travel patterns of Iranian
from the Iranian Electronic Payments Corporation (Shaparak1), elec- consumers. So, understanding individuals' shopping behavior in Iran
tronic financial transactions in the country totaled approximately $17.5 can provide new insights into the adoption of ICT by people from de-
billion in 2017, an increase of nearly 27% compared to 2016 figures. veloping countries. That could also be helpful in policy making parti-
More than 77% of these transactions involved the direct purchase goods cularly in similar regions which are challenging with economic issues.

Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti), (S. Hamidi).
Shaparak is the central bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Received 10 October 2018; Received in revised form 24 April 2020; Accepted 1 May 2020
0264-2751/ © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Recent studies suggest that online shopping impacts individuals' by individuals' opinions (Salomon & Ben-Akiva, 1983).
travel behavior in different ways over the short term and long term. While multiple studies have investigated the determinant factors of
Circella and Mokhtarian (2017), for instance, found that individuals' online and in-store shopping behavior, very little attention has been
tendency towards online shopping could change their residential atti- paid to the immediate effects from objective as well as subjective fac-
tudes over the long term, their travel mode preferences over the tors (Cao, Douma, & Cleaveland, 2010).
medium term, and their day-to-day retail activities in the short term. In addressing these limitations, this study examines the conceptual
In theory, it is hypothesized that the proliferation of ICT may impact basis of existing theories that emphasize the positive utility for travel
daily trips by either modifying, substituting or complementing effects (Mokhtarian, Salomon, & Redmond, 2001) to identify features that lead
(Circella, 2017; Mokhtarian, 2009). Yet, there is little empirical evi- people to engage in shopping trips in terms of traditional and tech-
dence on whether online shopping has a complementarity, substitution, nology-based activities. In other words, this study seeks to investigate
or neutrality impact on traditional shopping trips (Van Wee, 2015). the online and in-store shopping travel behavior of individuals in the
Earlier studies have indicated that online shopping could produce context of Iran as a non-Western country. In order to explore the issues
higher in-store shopping trips (Farag, Schwanen, Dijst, & Faber, 2007), identified in past studies, we use a rich dataset to verify whether the
and warned that the complementary effects of online shopping – findings of the Western-focused research could be adapted to Iran and
namely, the ability of consumers to easily access price information its unique social and technological context. The case of Shiraz, Iran was
online and identify low-cost retailers before planning their shopping selected because of easy access to data and the familiarity of the authors
trips – could be a burden to current transportation deficiencies (Cao, with Iranian culture, attitudes, planning norms, and travel behavior.
2012; Lee, Sener, Mokhtarian, & Handy, 2017). Therefore, shopping Hence, this study seeks to investigates the following research questions
trips may not always be substituted by online shopping because shop- 1) How do factors, such as built environment, contextual lifestyle and
ping activities are highly influenced by individuals' decision-making attitudes and internet experience influence both online and in-store
(Mokhtarian, Salomon, & Handy, 2004). Scholars have argued that shopping behaviors? and 2) Does online shopping demand in Iran
online shopping ultimately broadens consumer choices, and in many follow the same complementary effects of previous studies in Western
cases may ultimately generate more trips in a given area (Rotem- nations?
Mindali & Salomon, 2007). So, based on the theory, ICT directly sti- In the following sections, we first review the existing literature re-
mulates additional travel and not all uses of ICT constitute replacement lated to online shopping travel behavior. Next, we discuss the research
of travel (Mokhtarian, 2009). design and methodology of the study. The third section provides the
The relationship between online and in-store shopping trips has results of the analysis, which is followed by the discussion of the results
been a controversial subject for quite some time. Research in European and the authors' general conclusions.
cities suggests that, although increasing demand towards online shop-
ping could enhance the ability of shopping centers to attract more re- 2. Literature review
tailers, the long-term substitution effects of online shopping are more
noticeable. Hence, without redevelopment plans for shopping centers, 2.1. Determinants of shopping behavior
the viability of street shopping centers may be decreased in the coming
decades (Weltevreden & van Rietbergen, 2009; Weltevreden, Wrigley, Previous studies examined online shopping travel behavior from
& Brookes, 2014). To understand the future of city center retailers, different perspectives and identified various determinants of online
Gerend (2017) explored the influences of online shopping on brick-and- shopping travel patterns. The most crucial determinants of online
mortar retailers. She introduced the factors related to online shopping shopping behavior have been detected as socioeconomic character-
which can impose risks on traditional retailing in city centers (e.g., istics, built environment attributes, and shopping attitudes/preferences.
difficulty in assessing the spatial distribution of e-commerce, effects of
online shopping on land-use planning, shifts in the choice of con- 2.1.1. Socioeconomic characteristics
sumers/retailers from traditional shopping to e-commerce, and so In European countries, studies have found that highly educated
forth). In addition, results indicate that substitution of traditional people, men, and high-income individuals are more likely than other
shopping with online shopping is more likely to happen in dense city demographics to purchase everyday goods online (Farag et al., 2007; Li,
centers than in suburban or neighborhood-scale areas (Weltevreden & Kuo, & Rusell, 1999; Raijas, 2002; Swinyard & Smith, 2003). However,
van Rietbergen, 2009). when it comes to non-daily shopping in other nations, gender may have
The gaps in the literature of online retail arguably stem from a lack a different influence on online shopping frequency – women have been
of adequate research about the influence of product type on online found to be more likely to shop online than men (Sener & Reeder,
shopping, as well as limited geographical case studies (Zhen, Du, Cao, & 2012). The indirect time-pressure influences can explain the gender-
Mokhtarian, 2018). Also, very little of the existing literature accounts based conflicts in online shopping behaviors. Employed women with
for the fact that individuals' decision-making in shopping trips is a limited time for shopping are found to be more interested in online
consequence of the type and durability of goods purchased (e.g., Farag, shopping, although they make higher in-store shopping trips as well
Krizek, & Dijst, 2006). Moreover, almost all substantive studies have (Ferrell, 2005). Car ownership is another determinant of online shop-
been conducted in a Western context, with the influences of online ping propensity. Compared to zero-car households, families with one or
shopping on travel behavior being rarely examined in developing na- more cars generate fewer grocery shopping trips due to the possibility
tions (Hsiao, 2009). Although some studies have evaluated online of trip-chaining for different shopping purposes (Farag et al., 2007;
shoppers' intentions in Iran from the managerial perspective (e.g., Srinivasan & Bhat, 2005).
Gohary, Hamzelu, & Alizadeh, 2016), there has not been any sub-
stantive emphasis on the trends of shopping-related travel behavior in 2.1.2. Built environment
that country. The impacts of built environment attributes on online shopping is
Another gap relates to the lack of attention to subjective determi- another area of debate, and it remains a complex undertaking to predict
nants of shopping and travel behavior. This line of research stem from the outcomes of spatial distribution on the adoption of online shopping.
theories that combine transport geography with social psychology and Few studies have specifically investigated the influences of land use
lifestyle theories to provide a better understanding of the relationships measures on the frequency of online shopping. In general, the two
between travel behavior, the built environment, and subjective atti- competing hypothesis are stated for the impacts of built environment on
tudes and lifestyles (Van Acker, 2010). Individuals' lifestyle and atti- online shopping include: 1) diffusion of innovation which compares the
tudes can be observed through patterns of behaviors and are explained online shopping patterns of residents in urban and suburban areas, and

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

2) efficiency which emphasizes on the strengths and opportunities of The number of years a consumer has had access to the internet, his or
high access to internet in terms of reducing accessibility barriers her monthly frequency of using the internet, and their comfort level
(Anderson, Chatterjee, & Lakshmanan, 2003). with online search engines have been recognized as influential factors
Farag et al. (2007), for instance, found that accessibility to stores in consumers' willingness to shop online (Cao et al., 2013; Farag, Dijst,
means greater shopping opportunities, and negatively impacts online & Lanzendorf, 2003).
searching. Moreover, residents of urbanized areas generally have better
access to fast internet connections, and consequently are able to search 2.1.4. Type of shopping goods
and buy online more often (Farag et al., 2007; Krizek, Li, & Handy, Another line of research relates the type of goods to online shop-
2005). Consequently, lower in-person shopping accessibility is asso- ping. Maintenance and convenience products, such as groceries and
ciated with greater adoption of online shopping by residents who have books, are more likely to be purchased online (Dholakia, Xiao,
limited access to brick-and-mortar stores (Ren & Kwan, 2009). In a Dholakia, & Mundorf, 2000; Farag et al., 2003). Although few studies
recent study, Cao, Chen, and Choo (2013) investigated the connection classified the types of commodities in online shopping, two types of
between neighborhood type, shopping accessibility, and online shop- goods are recognized: search goods (such as event/travel tickets, books,
ping by selecting samples from urban, suburban, and exurban areas. and media) and experience goods (such as clothing). The literature
They found that residents of urbanized areas with “remarkable” shop- states that in search goods, the possibility of in-store shopping de-
ping accessibility are more likely to purchase online than residents of creases as shopping distances increase, but for experience goods, people
suburban neighborhoods with lower access to brick-and-mortar stores. are ultimately more likely to shop in stores regardless of shopping
This line of research confirms the hypothesis of diffusion of innovation distance required (Bloch & Richins, 1983; Couclelis, 2004; Zhai et al.,
regarding the geographic distribution of online shopping. Using data 2017; Zhen et al., 2018).
collected from Nanjing, China, Zhen et al. (2018) found that people
who work and live in suburban areas are more inclined to make pur- 2.2. Interactions between online and in-store shopping
chases at physical stores due to lower educational levels and reduced
internet access. Moreover, respondents who had to travel long distances It is worth noting that in most of the above studies, in order to
to get to the store of their choice were more likely to shop online, thus recognize the marginal effects of ICT on travel behavior, the interaction
supporting the hypotheses of both diffusion of innovation and efficiency between online and in-store shopping behavior has been investigated
(Zhen et al., 2018). (e.g., Cao, Xu, & Douma, 2012; Farag, Schwanen, & Dijst, 2005; Shi, De
Vos, Yang, & Witlox, 2019; Weltevreden & Rietbergen, 2007; Zhou &
2.1.3. Attitudes and lifestyle Wang, 2014) Farag et al. (2006), for instance, studied the influence of
The decision to shop online also depends on the broader attitudes of online purchasing frequency on in-store shopping frequency for daily
consumers. Some people may possess “leisure-oriented” shopping atti- and non-daily goods while controlling for the land use attributes, per-
tudes and perceive online shopping as relaxing or entertaining sonal characteristics and shopping attitudes. The study's results from
(Swinyard & Smith, 2003). Similarly, shoppers with a “time-saving four municipalities in the Netherlands showed that the frequency of
orientation” may perceive online shopping as more efficient than an in- online shopping was positively associated with in-store shopping and,
person shopping trip (Li et al., 1999). Finally, individuals who are therefore, online shopping complemented in-store shopping. In another
concerned about the financial risks of online shopping are less likely to study, Cao et al. (2012), tested the interactions between online shop-
purchase online using credit cards (Forsythe & Shi, 2003). Attitudes are ping and traditional shopping frequencies in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul
also shaped by consumers' past experiences. Individuals who have po- metropolitan area. Controlling for confounding factors, the study found
sitive experiences shopping online may search and purchase online a positive relationship between online and in-store shopping. In other
more often, and people who indicate positive in-store experiences are words, access to online information via search engines contributes to a
more likely to shop in stores (Farag et al., 2007). larger complementary effect on in-store shopping frequency. These
Previous studies have introduced some shopping attitudes such as findings were confirmed by a recent study in Davis, California, that
“price and time consciousness”, “shopping enjoyment” and “impulsive accounted for a wide range of explanatory variables including personal
shopper” (Cao et al., 2010). According to the literature, “shopping characteristics, perceptions, attitudes and built environment factors,
enjoyment” which positively is associated with in-store shopping, has a and ultimately found that online shopping has a positive effect on in-
negative impact on online shopping frequency. Also, “store enjoyment” store shopping, again demonstrating a complementary relationship
(a positive reaction to shopping in a given store) negatively influences between online and in-store shopping (Lee et al., 2017).
online clothing purchasing. The factor of “shopping enjoyment” (ne- Despite the agreement in findings of these studies, their geographic
gative attitudes towards shopping) positively resulted in more online distribution is limited. Because these rich datasets have been developed
shopping (Zhai, Cao, Mokhtarian, & Zhen, 2017). According to the in Europe and the U.S., little evidence has been provided in the context
findings from Lee et al. (2017), attitudes and perceptions play an im- of a wider array of countries and cultural/geographic situations (e.g.,
portant role in shopping decisions. For example, individuals who have Shi et al., 2019; Zhen et al., 2018). We further contend that there exists
positive attitudes towards technology are more likely to purchase items a sharp contrast between Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and
online. To understand the impacts of online shopping on shopping Western nations in terms of shopping travel behavior. Contrary to
centers, Weltevreden and Rietbergen (2007) explored shoppers' per- Europe and the U.S., Iranian residents face challenging economic and
ceptions towards the attractiveness of shopping centers and found that political crises, but still demonstrate a recent (though enduring) ten-
online shoppers were generally less likely to shop from city center re- dency towards internet use and online shopping (The World Bank,
tailers. However, having a preference for attractive shopping centers 2019). Despite the restrictions from the Iranian government on popular
may motivate online shoppers to visit more in-person retailers if the online applications such as Telegram, the Iranian people continue to
locations meet their aesthetic standards. use these apps through virtual private networks (VPNs) and anti-fil-
The relationship between individual lifestyles and online shopping tering software packages (Maclellan, 2018). The unemployment rate in
behavior is rarely explored. Research thus far indicates a greater fre- Iran seems to get deteriorated over time (Statista, 2017). In this situa-
quency of both shopping trips and online shopping for individuals with tion, job creation and workforce development are challenging, while
an “active lifestyle” (Casas, Zmud, & Bricka, 2001). In addition, time- the technology-driven services of online retailers could enhance the
limited women and self-identified “adventurous” people are more likely economy by creating online-oriented jobs and business opportunities.
to shop online (Farag, 2006; Ferrell, 2005). A consumer's experience in While the internet and online services have facilitated the creation of
using the internet is another determinant of online purchase frequency. more than one million jobs in Iran, filtering online shopping

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

applications through government-sanctioned tools would lead to a suburban areas that extend outward to the northwest, south, and
substantial economic failure among this sector (Al-monitor, 2018). southwest of the CBD and represent the city's version of urban sprawl.
Thus, investigating the online shopping behaviors of Iranian consumers These three zones each have unique land use patterns in terms of
can help planners to convince the government of that nation about the commercial units and retail shopping areas. The commercial units in
economic consequences of restricting social media, while also helping the historic CBD are mostly small retail stores with a high diversity of
policy-makers to understand and consider the significance of online goods, while the sub-center areas are dominated by enclosed shopping
shopping for their economic priorities. If online shopping influence on malls. The inner-suburban areas of Shiraz mostly consist of newer,
shopping trips in Iran, this effect should work in all similar regions. sprawling neighborhoods with poor access to retail stores and shopping
The points mentioned above indicate that although earlier studies malls, although a large regional hypermarket has recently opened in
have contributed to the knowledge of online shopping behavior, they this zone. In terms of internet connectivity, all three types of neigh-
are still limited in some vital ways. First, exploring online shopping has borhoods have a generally uniform level access to the internet. Data for
been chiefly studied in Western countries with little empirical research this study were obtained from a structured survey of residents in 10
having been performed in the developing world. Therefore, in- municipal districts of Shiraz, Iran. This survey was conducted from May
vestigating online shopping behavior in the context of a non-Western to June of 2018.
country would represent a novel contribution to the literature. Second, To categorize our sample neighborhoods, we used a multi-stage
previous research has mostly been developed based on objective fac- sampling approach to select our respondents from a diverse range of
tors, such as socio-demographic data and built-environment attributes. districts by focusing on four main features including the neighborhood
We found only five studies in the U.S. and Europe that have emphasized form, land use, socio-economic attributes and shopping accessibility.
the influence of qualitative factors, such as attitudes and lifestyle pat- First, using the Revised Detailed Plan of Shiraz (Shahrokhaneh
terns, on online shopping (Cao et al., 2010; Farag et al., 2007; Lee et al., Consultants, 2014), the neighborhoods were classified as “CBD,” “sub-
2017; Schmid & Axhausen, 2019; Zhai et al., 2017). Third, earlier CBD,” or “inner suburb.” Second, we shortlisted the neighborhoods by
studies have mostly emphasized the influence of the built environment the range of income level, land-use diversity, and population density.
at the aggregated level (e.g., levels of urbanization in terms of dwelling By classifying neighborhoods in this structured fashion, we were con-
in urban, suburban and rural areas) on shopping accessibility and on- fident that our sample neighborhoods would effectively represent the
line/in-store shopping behavior of residents. Only a few studies have distribution of income, diversity, and density in Greater Shiraz. Finally,
considered the effects of disaggregated built-environment attributes our selected neighborhoods represent different levels of shopping ac-
(Lee et al., 2017). cessibility. Some neighborhoods (such as those classified as “CBD”) had
easy access to major shopping malls and retail stores, while other
3. Research design and methods neighborhoods (such as those in “inner suburbs”) were generally served
by smaller and more locally-oriented retail outlets. Overall, a total of 22
This study seeks to address the aforementioned gaps in the literature neighborhoods from 10 municipal districts in Shiraz were selected (see
by investigating whether and to what extent the previous findings, Fig. 1).
based in a Western context of shopping, internet usage, and travel be- To calculate the sample size for each neighborhood, we used the
havior, are applicable to Iran and its distinctly different economic si- census block population data and accounted for the neighborhood po-
tuation, culture, and social beliefs. This study aims to utilize a con- pulation in sampling (Shahr o Khaneh Consultant, 2014). Overall, 800
ceptual framework that originated in the existing literature, but update respondents were selected randomly from 22 neighborhoods.
it according to key contextual factors, including Iranian lifestyles and We designed the survey in seven main sections including online
cultural attributes, shopping attitudes of individuals, built environment shopping, in-store shopping, internet experience, individuals' attitudes,
attributes, and experience in using the internet to shop. The lifestyle lifestyle, residential environment and socio-economic. Each section
and attitudinal attributes are centered on the context of Iran. contained various sub-sections which deeply investigate respondents'
shopping behavior and related factors.
3.1. Study area and survey We surveyed people on both weekdays and weekends for approxi-
mately one month. The survey was conducted in person in an effort to
This study aims to investigate the determinant factors of online and maximize the response rate. The survey was conducted by an experi-
in-store shopping behavior while controlling for the effects of socio- enced and trained team of postgraduate students in urban planning. It
economic characteristics, built environment, internet experience, in- was distributed to adults aged 18 and older, due to that age group being
store shopping attributes, attitudes and lifestyle. more likely to have access to credit cards and online shopping. Out of
We utilized data from a household survey undertaken in me- 800 targeted respondents, roughly 530 residents agreed to participate
tropolitan Shiraz, Iran. Shiraz as the capital of Fars province, is the (a response rate of 65%). After cleaning the missing data (some re-
largest metropolitan area in Iran at over 240 km2, has a population of spondents refused to answer some socioeconomic questions such as
1.7 million, and is recognized as the economic hub of Southwestern Iran monthly income and number of private cars), we obtained 526 com-
(Shiraz Municipality, 2015). According to a recent population and pleted surveys.
housing census, the proportion of employment in retail sales and ser- Table 1 represents the socioeconomic characteristics of the sample.
vices is about 70% of the urban area's total labor force. However, the In general, > 56% of respondents possessed an advanced education,
number of licenses issued in retail industries in Fars province decreased were mostly full-time employees with an average age of 33 and earned
from 1671 in 2012 to 1199 in 2015 (Statistics Fars Province, 2015). In a median monthly income of $600 to $900 U.S. dollars. According to
Jun 2019, Fars province is the third most-productive province of Iran in Statistical Center of Iran (2017), the average monthly household in-
terms of online transactions per capita, with a total of 389,435 online come in urban areas is about $ 667, which is almost between the level
transactions in March of that year alone (Shaparak, 2019). income of $ 300-$ 600 and $ 600-$ 900 as our most popular reported
Based on the Revised Detailed Plan of Shiraz, the city is divided into income levels. Furthermore, results from the Urban Household Survey
10 regional municipalities with approximately 80 districts distributed in 2017 shows that the average monthly income in Fars province is
among them (Shahrokhaneh Consultant, 2014). Shiraz is an ancient approximately $790 that is very similar to the average monthly income
city, and generally has three distinct geographic zones: the central of our sample in Shiraz (Statistical Center of Iran, 2017).
business district (CBD), which is widely recognized as the historic core Moreover, Iran has one of the world's largest per capita population
of the city with a compact built environment; the sub-center districts of university students (ICEF, 2015) with about 4.5 million Iranians at-
that include the areas developed around the CBD; and the inner- tending a university in 2015. The country is producing far more college

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Fig. 1. Map of case study (Shiraz metropolitan area).

Table 1 graduates (and often of low quality) than the domestic economy can
Socioeconomic characteristics of the sample (N = 526). absorb. This trend has influenced the economic, social, and political
Description of variable Frequency Percent
problems inside Iran (The World Bank, 2017). Because of the pro-
liferation of higher education among Iranian citizens, we expected to
Socio-demographic have a high number of advanced degrees among survey respondents.
characteristics According to the Statistical Center of Iran (2016), the population
Gender Male 280 53.2
between 25 and 29 years old has the highest level of distribution
Female 246 46.8
Monthly income ($) Less than $300 107 20.3 compared to the other age cohorts. Statistics also demonstrate that the
$300- $600 257 48.9 mean and the median age of the Iranian population in urban areas are
$600- $900 106 20.2 respectively about 31 and 30 years old. So, it would make sense that our
$900- $1200 47 8.9
respondents who are somehow familiar with internet usage and online
$1200- $1500 4 0.8
$1500- $1800 4 0.8
shopping are mostly among young adults and better-educated popula-
$1800- $2100 1 0.2 tion (Statistical Center of Iran, 2016). Results from labor force in-
More than $2100 0 0 dicators show that in 2017 the employment ratio for Fars province is
Level of education Less than a secondary 49 9.3 36.1% and the unemployment rate is about 10.3% of the total active
population (Statistical Center of Iran, 2017). Comparing these results
Diploma (12 years) 106 20.2
Advanced diploma 75 14.3 with the characteristics of our sample, it seems that our sample was a
Bachelor's degree (4 209 39.7 little different in terms of employment distribution of the total popu-
yeas) lation in Fars province. Although, this difference would not make a bias
Master's degree 79 15
to our sample, because Shiraz is the largest city in the Fars province
Doctoral degree 8 1.5
Employment status Full-time employee 227 43.2
with high job opportunities and we expected to have a higher rate of
Part-time employee 121 23 employed individuals in our random sample.
Unemployed 39 7.4
Student 69 13.1
Retired 17 3.2 3.2. Shopping behavior
Homemaker 53 10.1
Possession of a driver's license No 86 16.3 To explore the shopping behavior of respondents, the survey asked
Yes 440 83.7
about the frequency of monthly online and in-store shopping in sepa-
Mean SD
Age Continues 33.24 10.53 rate questions adapted from the literature. The questions on in-store
Number of children in the Continues 0.84 0.91 and online shopping were phrased as follows: “How often do you do
household monthly shopping for yourself and your family in stores?” and “How
Number of adults in the Continues 2.62 1.24
often each month do you do shopping for yourself and your family
Number of private cars in the Continues 1.30 0.75
online?” Participants selected their choices through seven levels of
family frequency: rarely, 3–4 times per year, once every two months, once a
month, twice a month, 3 times a month, > 4 times each month. Past
studies generally used a five-point scale from “never” to “more than
once a week” for shopping frequency (e.g., Cao et al., 2012; Lee et al.,

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Table 2 than 63% of respondents stated that they usually drive to get to
Shopping frequency for in-store and online shopping behavior of the re- monthly shopping destinations, while usage of public transit and
spondents (N = 526). walking/cycling as shopping-related transportation were remarkably
Description of variable Frequency Percent low among individuals. In addition, respondents generally declared a
preference for using stores within their neighborhoods and close to
Shopping behavior their homes.
Frequency of in-store Rarely 99 18.8
The survey also asked respondents a wide range of questions about
shopping 3–4 times per year 80 15.2
Once every two months 67 12.7 their attitudes towards shopping. Respondents were asked to state the
Once per month 107 20.3 extent of their agreement with 15 statements on a five-point Likert
Twice per month 63 12 scale, where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree. We em-
Three times per month 39 7.4
ployed factor analysis to reduce the statements (principle component,
More than 4 times per 71 13.5
67% variance explained, KMO = 0.715) into four main orientations:
Frequency of online Rarely 60 11.4 (1) “attitude towards technology” (2) “attitude towards in-store shop-
shopping 3–4 times per year 292 55.5 ping” (3) “attitude towards active travel” (4) “attitude towards online
Once every two months 61 11.6 shopping” (see Table 4). “Attitudes towards technology” refers to a
Once per month 57 10.8
preference for using information technologies in daily life. The factor
Twice per month 14 2.7
Three times per month 16 3 representing a preference for in-store shopping was categorized as
More than 4 times each 26 4.9 “attitudes towards in-store shopping.” As expected, three attitudes re-
month ferring to attractive dimensions of in-store shopping had positive
coefficients, and the statement that listed shopping as “boring” had a
negative loading on the principal component. The “attitudes towards
2017). This study was conducted in a non-Western country in which the active travel” factor represented respondents' preferences towards ac-
average monthly income for households is noticeably lower than the tive travel to conduct shopping errands. The “Attitudes towards online
Western household incomes in the previous studies, so we decided to shopping” factor includes statements on the positive aspects of online
increase the levels of shopping frequencies to extend the choices for our shopping, and illustrates a preference for online shopping. As expected,
respondents. The survey instructions provided descriptions of the types the two statements on cheaper prices and delivery methods of online
of products respondents may purchase either online or in stores, such as products had a positive loading, and the statements which pointed to
clothing, books, and electronic devices through questionnaires. We potential risks in online shopping loaded negatively.
coded the responses into seven ordinal variables. As shown in This study is particularly interested in the impacts of respondents'
Table 2, > 53% of respondents indicated taking one or more shopping lifestyles on shopping-related travel mode choices. Accordingly, the
trips per month. Moreover, 21.5% of respondents stated that they survey includes 23 statements to explore dimensions of lifestyle in
conducted online shopping at least once per month. Overall, the data terms of the most common leisure activities of Iranian people.
indicate that respondents are more frequent in-store shoppers than Respondents were asked how often in a month they participate in
online shoppers. various activities during their leisure time. Respondents were asked to
answer the questions on a Likert-type scale where 1 = never to
3.3. Other key variables 7 = more than five times per week. The statements comprised five life-
style types: (1) “traditional,” (2) “modern,” (3) “sport-oriented,” (4)
Through the survey, we collected a rich dataset of socioeconomic “technological,” (4),” and (5) “educational.” Table 5 shows the results
characteristics, internet experience, in-store shopping attributes, in- of the confirmatory factor analysis (maximum likelihood with Promax
dividuals' attitudes, lifestyle factors, and built environment attributes of rotation, 57% variance explained, KMO = 0.805) of the lifestyle
residential areas. statements (Etminani-Ghasrodashti, Paydar, & Hamidi, 2018). A “tra-
The socioeconomic characteristics include demographic traits such ditional” lifestyle indicates common leisure activities associated with
as age of the respondent, gender (binary variable, male = 0, fe- the culture and customs of the Iranian community. A “Modern” lifestyle
male = 1), number of adults and children in the household, monthly incorporates activities which are presently popular among younger Ir-
income, level of education, employment status, possession of a driver's anians. The “sport-oriented” lifestyle represents the preference for
license (binary variable, no = 0, yes = 1), and number of cars owned athletic activities, and respondents who stated their preference for
by the household (see Table 1). technological activities (such as web browsing, online gaming, and
A total of six questions asked respondents about their internet ex- online social networks) were categorized as having “technological”
perience, with questions centering on household access to the internet lifestyles. Finally, the “educational” lifestyle represents a preference for
(binary variable, no = 0, yes = 1), different types of internet access studying and reading books and newspapers as an important part of
available to the household, the number of years a respondent has been daily life (see Table 5).
using the internet, possessing a credit card (binary variable, no = 0, To account for the built environment attributes in our models, we
yes = 1), average use of internet per day (five-point Likert scale ran- employed ArcGis 10.3 to compute data on environmental features of
ging from less than 1 h per month to several hours per day), frequency targeted neighborhoods using a 0.5-mile radius from the center of each
of pre-purchase searching over the internet to obtain more information neighborhood. The GIS layers were obtained from the Revised Detailed
about items of interest (seven-point Likert type from rarely to more Plan of Shiraz (Shahrokhaneh Consultant, 2014) and were utilized to
than four times per month). More than 97% of respondents had access query the total numbers of streets, links, and nodes of buffer areas. Our
to the internet. Respondents were also experienced internet users, with built environment measures include an entropy index to evaluate the
a median experience level of approximately six years. A high number of “diversity of land uses,” “intersection density,” and “connected node
respondents stated that they usually spend > 1–2 h each day on the ratio” as street design variables (Etminani-Ghasrodashti, Paydar, &
internet (see Table 3). Roughly half of respondents reported engaging in Hamidi, 2018; Ewing & Hamidi, 2017; Hamidi, Ewing, Preuss, & Dodds,
pre-purchase online searching once or more each month before pur- 2015) as well as residential and employment density. The entropy index
chasing a product. was computed based on seven land use types including residential,
In-store shopping attributes were explored through two variables: commercial and services, parks and green spaces, educational, public
the most common mode of transport for monthly shopping trips, and (health and sport), cultural-religious, and roads (Etminani-
the location(s) of monthly shopping destinations (see Table 3). More Ghasrodashti & Ardeshiri, 2016). Intersection density was measured as

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Table 3
Descriptive statistics of exploratory variables.
Description of variable Frequency Percent Mean SD Skew Kurtosis

Internet experience
Internet access 0 = No 13 2.5
1 = Yes 513 97.5
Type of internet access 1 = ADSL 240 46.8
2 = Mobile modem 37 7.2
3 = Cellphone internet 236 46
Possessing credit card 0 = No 73 13.9
1 = Yes 453 86.1
Years of internet use Continues 6.62 4.24 0.93 0.60
Average time of internet use 1 = Less than an hour per month 47 8.9
2 = 1–2 h per month 31 5.9
3 = 1–2 h per week 54 10.3
4 = 1–2 h per day 178 33.8
5 = > 2 h per day 216 41.1
Frequency of pre-purchase online 1 = Rarely 204 38.8
searching 2 = 3–4 times per year 34 6.5
3 = Once every two months 29 5.5
4 = Once per month 59 11.2
5 = Twice per month 39 7.4
6 = Three times per month 30 5.7
7 = > 4 times per month 131 24.9
In-store shopping attributes
Usual mode of transport for Car 332 63.1
shopping Public transit 118 22.4
Walking 29 5.5
Biking 5 1
Taxi 18 3.4
App-based taxi 24 4.6
Monthly shopping locations The closest store to my home 178 33.8
Stores located inside my neighborhood 107 20.3
Stores located in city center 113 21.5
Stores located in suburbs 128 24.4
Attitude towards technology Normalized factor −0.58 0.49
Attitude towards in-store shopping Normalized factor −0.23 −0.38
Attitude towards active travel Normalized factor −0.49 0.16
Attitude towards online shopping Normalized factor 0.25 −0.19
Traditional Normalized factor 0.86 0.50
Modern Normalized factor 0.60 0.48
Sport-oriented Normalized factor 0.84 0.78
Educational Normalized factor 1.19 14.74
Technological Normalized factor 0.37 −0.19
Built environment
Land use diversity Continuous 0.46 0.10 2.04 9.13
Connected node ratio Continuous 0.67 0.12 0.82 1.36
Intersection density Continuous 280 75.17 1.09 0.31
Employment density Continuous 226 190 3.06 13.6
Residential density Continuous 170 57.31 0.30 −0.47
Distance from home to closest store 1 = < 5 min, 2 = 5–10 min, 3 = 10–15 min, 4 = 15–20 min, 3.45 1.77
Distance from home to closest bus 5 = 20–25 min, 6 = 25–30 min, 7 = > 30 min 1.88 1.07
Residential location 1 = CBD 111 21.1
2 = Sub-center 320 60.8
3 = Inner-suburban 95 18.1

the total number of intersections per square mile, where higher values 4. Analytical framework
indicate higher street connectivity as an indicator of pedestrian
friendliness. The connected node ratio describes the number of street Previous studies combined theories from transport geography with
intersections divided by the number of intersections plus cul-de-sacs. social psychology and lifestyle theories to justify the relationships be-
The maximum number of the connected node ratio (1) is associated tween travel behavior, the built environment, and subjective attitudes
with higher street network connectivity. We also computed residential and lifestyles (Van Acker, 2010). Travel behavior can be defined as the
and employment density using the 2011 census data at the block level result of individuals' daily decisions on activity participation, according
within the buffers. An additional variable was extracted from the survey to theories focused on the spatial and temporal constraints of activities
related to accessibility to shopping outlets. We asked respondents “how (Hagerstrand, 1970), or theories centered on the influence of oppor-
far is your home from the closest store at which you typically purchase tunities and constraints on activity patterns (Chabin, 1974). Moreover,
your monthly products?” A similar variable accounted for distance to decisions on locational behaviors, such as one's choice of residential or
transit by asking respondents about the distance from their home to the workplace siting, can influence daily travel behavior according to the
nearest bus stop (see Table 3). Finally, to account for a neighborhood's theory of “the distribution of activity opportunities” (Fried, Havens, &
typology, we classified the residential locations in three main urban Thall, 1977). Lifestyle, according to Bourdieu (1984), has mostly cul-
forms: CBD, sub-CBD, and inner suburbs of the city. tural dimensions and can be identified by specific patterns of behavior,

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Table 4
Results from factor analysis for attitudes.
Component To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Loadings

Attitude towards technology Internet make life easier and interesting 0.788
Social networks make me more awareness about the world 0.836
Internet help me to be updated about new goods and new trends 0.823
Attitude towards in-store shopping Shopping at stores is a kind of leisure activity for me 0.792
Watching other people in stores motivate me to purchase something 0.806
Shopping at stores always get me boring −0.198
Window shopping is enjoyable 0.718
Attitude towards active travel I prefer to walk or bike to get to a destination. 0.803
When walking to a store, I can socialize with others 0.779
I prefer walking/cycling to decrease air pollution 0.780
It is a burden to carry goods from store to home without a car −0.353
Attitude towards online shopping Goods bought online are generally cheaper than in shops 0.633
There is a limited financial risk when shopping online. −0.329
Online shopping is very good for items delivered online, for example tickets. 0.301
It is difficult to return goods bought online. −0.389
KMO and Bartlett's Test Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. 0.715
Approx. Chi-Square 1569.815
df. 105
Sig. < 0.001

Table 5 also accounts for the effects of socio-economic characteristics on the

Results from factor cluster analysis for lifestyle. residential built environment.
Component How often (in one month) do you engage in Loadings
Moreover, as shown in Fig. 2, all key variables are expected to in-
the following activities during your free fluence the frequency of online and in-store shopping. Finally, we
time? propose that online and in-store shopping behavior may interact with
each other simultaneously. Therefore, in our model, we consider both
Traditional Going to art exhibitions, cultural places, 0.683
direct and indirect effects of socioeconomic characteristics and built
Going to the theater or cinema 0.657 environment on output variables (online and in-store shopping) (see
Going to religious ceremonies 0.253 Fig. 2).
Going to visit relatives and family 0.301 We employed Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to account for
Going to local parks 0.563
both direct and indirect associations. SEM is a research technique often
Going to beauty salons 0.474
Going to shopping malls 0.602 used in studies on travel behaviour in general and shopping travel be-
Modern Going to a restaurant with friends 0.775 haviour (Cao et al., 2012; Ewing, Hamidi, Gallivan, Nelson, & Grace,
Going to fast food and coffee shops with 0.755 2013; Ewing, Hamidi, & Grace, 2016; Farag et al., 2007). SEM has
friends several advantages, such as the possibility of simultaneous modeling of
Going to parties with friends 0.509
Going to garden parties with friends 0.552
direct, indirect, and total effects of exogenous variables on endogenous
Sport-oriented Going to the gym 0.584 variables, while also evaluating the interrelationships of the variables
Going to indoor sports 0.688 that cannot be identified in regression models. SEM is based on con-
Walking 0.351 structing the measurement models for exogenous or endogenous vari-
Biking 0.693
ables through related observed indicators and, additionally, evaluates
Rock-climbing 0.591
Technological Surfing the internet 0.576 the structures between measurement models.
Using social networks 0.718 In this study, the measurement models for lifestyle and attitudes
Watching TV/Satellite programs 0.600 were built based on the aforementioned factor analysis. So, we con-
Playing online games 0.409 sidered the extracted factors from lifestyle and attitudes as exogenous
Educational Studying 0.250
Reading books 0.594
variables which can explain in-store and online shopping trip fre-
Reading magazines and newspapers 0.824 quencies and identified them by observed indicators (Cao et al., 2012).
KMO and Bartlett's Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin Measure of Sampling 0.805 Other key variables, including built environment, internet experience,
Test Adequacy. in-store shopping behavior and socioeconomic characteristics, were
Approx. Chi-Square 2812.827
counted as observed variables. An SEM with observed variables is ex-
df. 276
Sig. < 0.001 plained by following formula:

Y = BY + ΓX + ζ
such as consumption or leisure. In addition, Bourdieu argued, people
who belong to homogenous socioeconomic groups tend to behave in a
Y = (Ny×1) column vector of endogenous variables (Ny= number
diverse manner due to individuals' various perceptions, attitudes, and
of endogenous variables),
preferences towards the built environment, travel and activities
X = (Nx×1) column vector of exogenous variables (Nx= number of
(Mokhtarian & Cao, 2008; Van Wee, 2002).
endogenous variables),
These theories are the foundation of our conceptual framework. We
B = (Ny×Ny) matrix of coefficients demonstrates the direct effects
hypothesize that socioeconomic attributes are directly linked to one's
of endogenous variables on each other,
internet experience, in-store shopping attributes, and residential built
Γ = (Ny×Nx) matrix of coefficients demonstrates the direct effects
environment (see Fig. 2). For instance, individuals' income influence on
of exogenous variables on endogenous variables, and
internet usage, the store location and travel mode for shopping trips.
ζ= (Ny×1) column vector of errors (Mueller, 1999).
We also hypothesize that a residential built environment may influence
Our SEM model is the combination of direct and indirect effects of
one's internet experience and in-store shopping attributes. Our model
key variables on in-store and online shopping frequencies. Moreover,

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Socioeconomic characteristics
- Age
- Female
- Number of children in the household
- Number of adults in the household
- Monthly income
- Level of education
- Number of private cars in the family
- Employment status

Built environment
- Land use diversity
- Connected node ratio In-store shopping attributes
- Intersection density - Monthly shopping locations
Internet experience
- Employment density (Stores located inside my
- Average time of internet
- Residential density neighborhood, Stores
- Distance from home to located in city center, Stores
- Frequency of pre-purchase
closest store located in suburbs)
online searching
- Distance from home to - Usual mode of transport for
- Internet access (yes)
closest bus stop shopping (Car, Public
- Years of internet use
- Residential location transit, Walking/cycling)
(CBD, Sub-center,

Frequency of in-store shopping Frequency of online shopping

- Attitude towards
- Traditional
- Attitude towards in-
- Modern
store shopping
- Sport-oriented
- Attitude towards
- Educational
active travel
- Technological
- Attitude towards
online shopping

Fig. 2. Conceptual framework of the model.

Direct effects
Indirect effects
Note: The variables in the light grey boxes play the role of mediator in the model. The final outputs are placed within the dark grey boxes. Although the built
environment plays the role of mediator for socioeconomic characteristics, it affects internet experience and in-store shopping attributes as well.

we hypothesized that online and in-store shopping frequencies could differences between the model-implied covariance matrix and the em-
influence each other simultaneously. pirically-computed covariance matrix of the data. The evaluation de-
Using SEM, as our statistical method, we investigate the relation- pends not only on the model, but also on the estimation method. One of
ships between the key variables according to the following hypothe- the most prevalent estimation methods is maximum likelihood (ML),
sizes: which needs a normal distribution of the endogenous variables
(Harrington, 2009). To reduce the analytical limitations, the variance-
H1. Built environment, internet experience, and in-store shopping
adjusted weighted least squares parameter estimator (WLSMV) was
attributes mediate the effects on shopping behavior.
used as a second estimation method. Moreover, we evaluated the
H2. The frequencies of online and in-store shopping are influenced by models' goodness-of-fit based on four indicators, including the χ2 test
the lifestyle, attitudes, socioeconomic characteristics, internet values divided by the model's degrees of freedom, normed fit index
experience, built environment and in-store shopping attributes. (NFI), comparative fit index (CFI), and root-mean square error of ap-
proximation (RMSEA). As shown in Table 8, the values generally
H3. Online and in-store shopping behavior significantly interact with
compared well to the widely accepted goodness-of-fit standards, such as
each other.
the mean of the χ2/df value being < 2, the NFI mean value and the CFI
The goodness-of-fit of SEM equations is tested by minimizing the mean value of < 0.95, and the mean of the RMSEA average to be < 0.1.

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Table 6
Direct effects given in standardized coefficients.
Internet experience In-store shopping attributes

Monthly shopping locations Usual mode of transport for shopping

Variables Average time Frequency of pre- The closest Stores located inside Stores Stores Car Public transit Walking/
of internet use purchase online store to my my neighborhood located in located in cycling
searching home city center suburbs

Age –0.361*** –0.174*** 0.099 ***
Female –0.151*** 0.097**
Number of children in –0.141*** 0.113 *** 0.109 ***
the household
Number of adults in the –0.063 *
Monthly income ($) 0.188 *** 0.224 *** –0.091 ***
Level of education 0.160 *** 0.100 *** –0.070 * 0.149 *** 0.156 *** −0.097 **
Number of private cars 0.191 *** –0.141 *** –0.094 ***
in the family
Built environment
Land use diversity 0.095 *** 0.087 ***
Connected node ratio 0.101 *** –0.125 ***
Intersection density
Employment density −0.075 ** 0.144 ***
Residential density –0.153 ***
Distance from home to –0.243 *** 0.133 *** –0.079 **
closest store
Distance from home to
closest bus stop
Residential location
CBD 0.090 *** 0.216 *** –0.155 *** 0.113 ***
Sub-center 0.145 *** –0.118 ***
Inner-suburban –0.113 ***

The sections below explain the results of the final structural equation respondents' internet experience and in-store shopping attributes (see
model, identifying the key variables with respect to both in-store and Table 6). Our analysis indicates that individuals who live in neighbor-
online shopping behavior. hoods with a greater diversity of land uses have a stronger preference
for driving and for shopping at stores in the CBD. Living in neighbor-
5. Results hoods with higher street connectivity is also correlated with more
driving and less public transit usage between homes and shopping
5.1. Mediating effects of built environment, internet experience and in-store destinations. By contrast, residents of neighborhoods with high em-
attributes ployment density show a reduced preference for transit and a stronger
preference for walking/cycling when on shopping errands. Our analysis
Tables 6 and 7 show the mediating effects of variables in our model. confirms that the distance between one's home and the closest store
Due to the high number of variables, we filtered the model for insig- negatively impacts shopping from stores near their residence, while
nificant variables to reduce the complexity of data interpretations. positively impacting shopping in the CBD. Also, as the travel distance to
According to Fig. 2, we hypothesize that socioeconomic character- the nearest store increases, individuals are less likely to walk or cycle
istics of the respondents influence their internet experience and in-store for their shopping trips. As expected, individuals who live in the CBD
shopping decision-making. This is largely confirmed by our model. Our spend more time on the internet, are less likely to drive for their
results indicate that senior respondents are less likely to spend time on shopping trips, and usually purchase their goods from the city center.
the internet researching products before purchasing them. Elder re- Survey respondents who live in sub-centers show less preference for
spondents are more interested in purchasing their monthly products walking/cycling and are more likely to take transit for shopping trips.
from stores close to their homes. Moreover, we found that females and Finally, residents of inner-suburban areas are less likely to shop from
families with more children are more likely to take public transit for the stores located in the city center.
shopping-related trips and reported less driving to get to daily shopping Table 7 demonstrates the impacts of socioeconomic characteristics
destinations. Our analysis indicates that household income is strongly on built environment measures. On this topic, the survey questions
and positively associated with the average use of internet and online focused on the most important and widely cited personal attributes
pre-purchase searching, and negatively associated with shopping from related to respondents, including family income, number of children,
inside respondents' neighborhoods. Highly-educated respondents also and the household's car ownership status. Our analysis indicates that
reported a more average use of the internet for pre-purchase searching, individuals from families with more children and adults (large families)
while also being more likely to drive and purchase from stores located mostly live in suburban areas and not in sub-centers. Moreover, re-
in the city center. These respondents are less likely to take transit and spondents from families with more children above 18 years old tend to
shop from stores close to their homes. As expected, a household's car live in neighborhoods with high residential density, less employment
ownership increases the likelihood of driving for shopping trips, and density, and greater distances to the nearest transit stop. On the other
negatively impacts public transit and walking/cycling as the primary hand, most individuals with higher incomes live in the CBD. Having
travel mode for shopping trips. more cars in the family is associated with living in locations far from
We also investigated the influence of the built environment on shopping destinations and bus stops.

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Table 6 suggests that socioeconomic characteristics of the re-

spondents and their residential built environment significantly affect

0.105 ***

0.130 ***
Inner- their internet experience and in-store shopping attributes. Furthermore,
Table 7 indicates significant effects of socioeconomic characteristics on
individuals' residential built environment. Hence, the results from

Note: ** significant at α = 0.05; *** significant at α = 0.01. In Tables 6 and 7, we only entered the significant estimates and disregarded putting all insignificant direct effects from other variables.
Tables 6 and 7 confirm the first hypothesis (H1) of the study which

−0.098 ***

–0.126 ***

supports the mediating role of the built environment, internet experi-

ence and in-store shopping attributes when investigating the re-
spondents' shopping behavior.

5.2. Explanatory effects

This study aimed to explore the determinant factors of in-store and

Distance from home to

online shopping behaviour, and the interrelations between these two

types of shopping. We used the frequency of in-store and online shop-
ping as the final endogenous variables hypothesized to be affected by
closest bus stop

different sets of variables including internet experience, in-store shop-

0.084 ***

ping attributes, attitudes, lifestyle preferences, built environment and

socioeconomic characteristics. Table 8 presents the standardized direct,
indirect and total effects of these variables on online and in-store
shopping. Since we hypothesized that the built environment and so-
Distance from home to

cioeconomic attributes influence on internet experience and in-store

shopping attributes, these two variables, directly and indirectly, influ-
ence on individuals' travel behavior. In this section we investigate the
closest store


direct effects of all key variables on the frequency of online and in-store
shopping behaviors.
According to this table, internet experience significantly affects the
frequency of in-store and online shopping trips. Generally, respondents
who have access to the internet are less likely to frequently travel for
shopping purposes. However, respondents who spend more time on the

0.107 ***

internet and people who frequently search the internet for information

about various goods are more inclined to take shopping trips. Similarly,
the frequency of pre-purchase online searching is strongly associated
Employment density

with more frequent online shopping. Therefore, individuals who spend

more time searching through online information about products and
goods are more likely to shop both online and at brick-and-mortar
−0.105 ***

Among in-store shopping attributes, the preferred shopping location
is significantly associated with both in-store and online shopping be-
havior. Individuals, who prefer to purchase their monthly needs from
shops in the city center reported shopping more often at both in-person
and online retail outlets. In addition, respondents who usually use ac-

tive modes of transport (such as walking and biking) for shopping trips

are more frequent in-store shoppers. Conversely, people who usually

drive to shopping destinations are less likely to shop online. This result
is weaker, but the same for using public transit as the primary mode of
Connected node

shopping travel.
As expected, respondents with positive attitudes towards in-store
shopping tend to make more shopping trips, whereas individuals with

positive attitudes towards online shopping tend to do more of their

shopping online. We found other attitudes to be not significantly as-
Built environment
Direct effects given in standardized coefficients.

sociated with the frequency of in-store and online shopping. Our ana-
lysis indicates that respondents who have “educational” or “technolo-
Land use

gical” lifestyles are more likely to shop in person than online. In

addition, performing leisure activities related to the “modern” lifestyle
is negatively associated with the frequency of in-store shopping. In
contrast, individuals with a “modern” lifestyle are more likely to pur-
chase monthly products (such as books and clothes) online. Our results
Number of cars in the family
Number of children in the

confirm the theory that state opinions, interests, and attitudes can be
Number of adults in the

declared by behavioral patterns in individuals' lifestyles (Ganzeboom,


Monthly income ($)


We also found built environment measures in residential locations


to contribute significantly to the frequency of in-store shopping.


Residing in neighborhoods with greater land use diversity, street con-

Table 7

nectivity, and higher employment density is associated with more fre-

quent in-store shopping. Taking into account the indirect effects of the

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

Table 8
Standardized direct, indirect and total effects of the model.
Variables Freq. of in-store shopping Freq. of online shopping

Direct Indirect Total Direct Indirect Total

Shopping behavior
Frequency of in-store shopping n.a. n.a. n.a. 0.174 *** 0.000 0.174
Frequency of online shopping 0.166 *** 0.000 0.166 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Internet experience
Internet access (yes) −0.080 ** 0.000 −0.080 0.002 0.000 0.002
Years of internet use −0.055 0.000 −0.055 −0.038 0.000 −0.038
Average time of internet use 0.099 *** 0.000 0.099 −0.020 0.000 −0.020
Frequency of pre-purchase online searching 0.101 *** 0.000 0.101 0.317 *** 0.000 0.317
In-store shopping attributes
Monthly shopping locations
The closest store to my home −0.045 0.000 −0.045 −0.005 0.000 −0.005
Stores located inside my neighborhood 0.028 0.000 0.028 −0.019 0.000 −0.019
Stores located in city center 0.148 *** 0.000 0.148 0.067* 0.000 0.067
Stores located in suburbs 0.022
Usual mode of transport for shopping
Car 0.060 0.000 0.060 −0.121 *** 0.000 −0.121
Public transit 0.003 0.000 0.003 −0.072 * 0.000 −0.072
Walking/cycling 0.069 ** 0.000 0.069 0.034 0.000 0.034
Attitude towards technology 0.026 0.000 0.026 −0.029 0.000 −0.029
Attitude towards in-store shopping 0.110 *** 0.000 0.110 0.030 0.000 0.030
Attitude towards active travel 0.013 0.000 0.013 0.013 0.000 0.013
Attitude towards online shopping −0.043 0.000 −0.043 0.102 *** 0.000 0.102
Traditional −0.008 0.000 −0.008 0.056 0.000 0.056
Modern −0.081** 0.000 −0.081 0.071 * 0.000 0.071
Sport-oriented −0.005 0.000 −0.005 0.031 0.000 0.031
Educational 0.083 *** 0.000 0.083 0.012 0.000 0.012
Technological 0.125 *** 0.000 0.125 0.011 0.000 0.011
Built environment
Land use diversity 0.084 *** 0.021 0.105 −0.044 −0.004 −0.048
Connected node ratio 0.126 *** 0.002 0.128 0.049 −0.006 0.043
Intersection density 0.063 * −0.007 0.056 −0.063 −0.001 −0.064
Employment density 0.072 * −0.001 0.71 −0.047 0.013 −0.034
Residential density 0.041 −0.007 0.034 0.056 −0.001 0.055
Distance from home to closest store 0.019 0.027 0.045 0.029 0.004 0.032
Distance from home to closest bus stop 0.003 −0.003 0.000 0.060 0.005 0.065
Residential location
CBD 0.203 *** 0.027 0.230 0.014 0.008 0.023
Sub-center 0.087 ** 0.007 0.094 −0.013 −0.004 −0.017
Inner-suburban 0.006 0.005 0.011 0.030 −0.002 0.028
Socio-demographic characteristics
Age −0.127 *** −0.061 −0.188 0.017 −0.055 −0.039
Female 0.042 −0.010 0.032 0.033 0.008 0.041
Full-time employee −0.065 0.000 −0.065 0.095 ** 0.000 0.095
Part-time employer −0.024 0.000 −0.024 −0.015 0.000 −0.015
Unemployment −0.078 ** 0.000 −0.078 −0.092 ** 0.000 −0.092
Student −0.041 0.000 −0.041 −0.075 ** 0.000 −0.075
Retired 0.057 0.000 0.057 −0.017 0.000 0.017
Number of children in the household −0.018 −0.009 −0.027 0.012 0.016 0.028
Number of adults in the household 0.021 0.002 0.023 −0.004 0.033 0.029
Monthly income ($) 0.155 *** 0.035 0.191 0.058 0.043 0.101
Level of education 0.088 ** 0.022 0.110 0.071 * 0.005 0.076
Number of private cars in the family −0.028 −0.005 −0.033 0.069 * −0.029 0.040
Model fit χ2/ df (< 2) NFI (> 0.95) CFI (> 0.95) RMSEA (< 0.1)
2.01 0.97 0.98 0.08

Note: ** significant at α = 0.05; *** significant at α = 0.01.

built environment on in-store shopping attributes can provide a more more likely to shop in person than online. The indirect effects of re-
obvious interpretation of this finding. Respondents who reside in siding in CBD on in-store shopping behavior can be explained through
neighborhoods with greater land-use diversity are more likely to travel the mediating impact of built environment that is identified as monthly
to stores located in the city center and they usually drive a car for shopping locations.
shopping activities (see Table 6). It seems that the indirect effects result Our analysis confirms that socioeconomic attributes significantly
in more in-store shopping frequencies for residents of diverse neigh- influence in-store and online shopping travel behavior. Older in-
borhoods. The indirect effects of intersections density and employment dividuals and unemployed people have less frequent in-store shopping.
density through the mediating variables are small compared to their Considering the indirect effects of respondents' age on in-store shopping
direct effects on in-store shopping frequencies. through the mediating variables indicate that senior respondents were
Moreover, people who live in the CBD and sub-center areas are less likely to use and search the internet, and so, they were less frequent

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

in-store shoppers as well. internet searching facilitates getting information about a purchase, in-
Similarly, as monthly income and level of education increases, re- dividuals still prefer to purchase experience products (e.g., clothes) at
spondents are more interested in in-store shopping. Education is also physical stores (Farag et al., 2007).
positively associated with the frequency of online shopping, likely due Our findings confirm that preferences for shopping locations (closer
to highly educated people having more experience in using the internet. stores versus faraway downtown or suburban stores) and shopping
The indirect effects of income and education are mostly originated from travel mode choices influence both in-store and online shopping trip
mediating variables such as individuals' internet usage and pre-pur- frequencies. People who prefer to purchase from stores in the city
chase online searching. Regarding the significant effects of lifestyle, center do more shopping both online and in-person. The positive as-
attitudes, instore shopping attributes, internet experience, built en- sociation between shopping from stores located in the city center and
vironment and socioeconomic characteristics on frequency of online in-store shopping frequency observed in this study is due to the fact that
and in-store shopping support our second hypothesis (H2). the city centers and downtowns in metropolitan areas of developing
Finally, we investigated the associations between online and in- countries such as Iran is mostly surrounded by retail stores that offer a
store shopping frequencies and found a significant and positive re- variety of qualities, prices, and discounts. Therefore, people who are
lationship. This result is consistent with the theory that emphasizes the more likely to shop at the city center are generally more frequent and
ICT effects on individuals' daily trips and confirms the findings of savvy shoppers. Moreover, traditional purchases can generate extra
previous studies (Cao et al., 2012; Farag et al., 2007) that reported a shopping through the internet, which complements the process of in-
complementary relationship between online and in-store shopping. store shopping. We therefore conclude that the in-store decision-
However, the influence of in-store shopping on online shopping fre- making processes of individuals, referred to as self-selection, plays a
quency is stronger. Evidence suggests individuals who are frequent in- mediating role in their in-store and online shopping behavior. Self-se-
store shoppers are also quite willing to shop via the internet. lection in shopping location has not been explored in previous studies
Hence, the third hypothesis of the study which proposes a sig- and could contribute to better understanding both in-store and online
nificant relationship between online and in-store shopping frequencies shopping behaviors. We found that frequent shoppers who purchase
are confirmed by the findings driven through Table 8. affordable products from the city center, and not from expensive brands
online or in other locations, may have more in-store and online shop-
6. Discussion and conclusions ping frequencies. We find that respondents who prefer to shop from
stores located in the city center generally reside in the CBD, drive less
This study investigated individuals' travel behavior in terms of on- for shopping trips, and engage in more in-store and online shopping.
line and in-store shopping frequencies. Our model accounts for the Residential self-selection can explain the effects resulting from the built
context-based and local lifestyle and attitudes, and detailed built en- environment on individuals' travel behavior. For example, individuals
vironment measures (along with other determinant variables) to un- who prefer to use either an active travel mode or public transit are able
derstand online and in-store shopping behavior among respondents. We to self-select their residential neighborhood in transit-rich areas in
also seek to understand the interrelations between online and in-store inner-city districts (Wolday, Næss, & Cao, 2019). Residential self-se-
shopping travel behavior in terms of substituting and complementary lection could also contribute to the effects of neighborhood type on
effects. walking trips to stores (Cao, 2010). In this study, individuals' self-se-
Our analysis indicates that only 21.5% of respondents are frequent lection could explain living in the CBD and their subsequent fewer car
online shoppers, while > 88% of respondents demonstrated that they trips for shopping.
shopped online three times or more per year. This finding, which re- Travel time for shopping trips is also associated with the type of
ports a relatively lower percentage of online shopping compared to products being purchased. According to the literature, individuals have
previous studies, was anticipated because this study is conducted in a a greater tendency to travel a greater distance to traditional stores in
non-Western country with low access to international online shopping order to purchase “experience” goods like clothing. However, for
websites, high levels of government censorship, strict regulations on “search” goods, such as tickets and books, individuals are less likely to
popular online applications, and relatively lower levels of income travel long distances and prefer online shopping options. Since our
compared to Western nations. However, in comparison to recent studies study did not differentiate between these two types of purchases, the
conducted in developed countries (Lee et al., 2017), the proportion of results state that a greater travel distance between respondents' homes
online shopping is remarkable. Hence, the evidence suggests that im- and their preferred shopping outlets leads to more frequent in-store and
proving online shopping opportunities can encourage people to effec- online shopping.
tively shop through online channels in developing economies. Turning to another variable of great interest – travel mode choice
The SEM analysis reveals a significant relationship between key and online shopping – we found that respondents who are more inter-
variables of both online and in-store shopping behavior of individuals. ested in driving to shopping destinations are less frequent online
While our research design and findings are generally in agreement with shoppers, while those who prefer to walk to stores are more interested
the existing literature, certain results demonstrate heterogeneity with in in-store shopping. Generally, it is believed that the higher degree of
previous evidence. Unlike previous studies, which mainly emphasized travel mode satisfaction leads to less online shopping (Ye & Titheridge,
on the influence of socioeconomic attributes on predicting online 2017). Hence, the convenience of a travel mode influences the decision-
shopping behavior, we focused on behavioral and attitudinal factors of making about online and in-store shopping. Furthermore, living in
travelers (such as internet experience, in-store shopping behaviors, at- areas with better pedestrian access to shopping induces people to walk
titudes and lifestyle). more often for shopping.
Our results reveal that as internet usage (average time of internet The literature points to individuals' perceptions and attitudes to-
use) by individuals increases, they are likely to have more frequent in- wards shopping as a key determinant of shopping type and frequency.
store shopping. We also found that pre-purchase online searching leads There are multiple motives for an individual to purchase a product.
to both more online and more in-store shopping by individuals. When According to Lee et al. (2017), people who find traditional shopping an
people browsed the internet for information about different products, enjoyment activity. At the same time, individuals who perceive online
they become more familiar with recent updates, store locations, and shopping as a time-saving option are more likely to shop online. In a
prices and discounts, and are arguably more motivated to make online similar vein, shoppers who are concerned about the security risks of
and in-store purchases. This finding is in contrast with the primary online shopping may avoid online shopping (Forsythe & Shi, 2003).
hypotheses that online searching would ease the burden of decision- Similarly, people who enjoy in-store shopping because it offers the
making and ultimately lead to fewer in-store shopping trips. Although opportunity to socialize with others are more likely to shop at stores.

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

We explored the influence of individuals' lifestyle on frequency of Findings from mediating effects indicate that older respondents spend
in-store and online shopping and found that individuals with an “edu- less time on the internet researching goods and products, and they
cational” lifestyle (passionate about studying and reading books and consequently reported less frequent in-store shopping. These results
newspapers) or a “technological” lifestyle (enjoying tech-savvy activ- confirm the findings of previous research (Zhen et al., 2018).
ities like web browsing, online gaming, and online social media) are The literature generally found that women are more likely than men
more likely than other respondents to shop in stores. These findings to visit stores (Chang, Cheung, & Lai, 2005; Farag et al., 2005). In our
suggest that these two lifestyles are examples of behavioral orientations study, the indirect effects of gender through mediators are smaller
rather than a time-use pattern. In contrast, the “modern” lifestyle is when compared with the direct effects on shopping behavior. Although
negatively related to the frequency of in-store shopping and positively females in our sample indicated that they often use public transit to get
impacts online shopping which are usually enjoyed by younger gen- to daily shopping destinations and are not likely to drive a car, we
erations (Etminani-Ghasrodashti, Paydar, & Hamidi, 2018). Our results found no significant relationship between gender and in-store versus
indicate that individuals with the “modern” lifestyle increasingly adapt online shopping behavior. Respondents from households with more
their lifestyles to new technologies and have more frequent online children acted in a similar manner; the indirect effects of number of
shopping. So, in theory, the lifestyle orientations that are observable children in the household through mediators is smaller than its' direct
patterns of consumption and leisure activities manifest itself in effects on shopping behavior. Even though their residential built en-
choosing ICT-based activities rather than traditional behaviors. To the vironment mediating the effects on shopping behavior they mostly live
best of our knowledge, the impacts of lifestyle on shopping behavior in suburban neighborhoods, they do not drive to shopping destinations
have not been previously investigated in transportation studies. Past and instead are more likely to take public transit, walk, or ride a bicycle
studies used socioeconomic variables such as the number of adults or for shopping trips. Past research found that families with more children
children in the family as a proxy for lifestyle (Ferrell, 2005). A small tend to decrease travel time for both online and in-store shopping (Zhen
number of studies pointed out to particular lifestyles such as “get-up- et al., 2018). However, we found no significant relationship between
and-go” as potential determinants of online shopping (Casas et al., the number of children in a family and respondents' shopping behavior.
2001), or stating that an active lifestyle indirectly results in a positive Our results revealed that individuals who have more adults in their
impact on online shopping and adventurous people search more often family unit are less interested in shopping from stores close to their
online (Farag et al., 2007). Our findings confirm that a modern lifestyle residential areas, likely because they usually live in inner-ring suburbs
accounts for the time-pressure effects on individuals and motivates with less access to shopping in the first place. Larger families are more
them to conduct their purchases from home. inclined to live in sprawling inner-suburban areas (such as new devel-
An important purpose of this study was to explore the impacts of oped townships in southwest of Shiraz) because of the lower housing
built environment attributes in residential neighborhoods on in- costs.
dividuals' shopping behaviors. In order to perform this investigation, Furthermore, respondents with higher incomes show more frequent
we extracted a wide range of built environment measures and in- use of the internet for pre-purchase searching and are frequent in-store
vestigated diversity, design, density, accessibility, and distance to shoppers (Cao et al., 2012; Cao & Mokhtarian, 2005). Similarly, highly
transit for shopping trips. We found that people who live in neighbor- educated respondents are more inclined to spend time on the internet
hoods with high levels of land use diversity, higher intersection density, searching for products, which in turn leads them to have higher fre-
and a well-connected street network tend to visit brick-and-mortar re- quency of both in-store and online shopping. This finding is in agree-
tailers more often. Land use diversity increases the accessibility to ment with recent studies that found highly educated people are more
shopping destinations by providing greater shopping opportunities likely to use the internet both for pre-purchase research and for pur-
within a walkable distance. Easy access to stores in residential areas chases as well (Zhen et al., 2018). In a similar vein, respondents with a
encourages people to be more physically active, and to walk or cycle to university-level education tend to have higher frequencies of downtown
stores. Results from the indirect effects of built environment through shopping (Lee et al., 2017).
the mediating variables (in-store shopping attributes) reveal that re- In addition, improved access to automobiles generally results in
sidents of areas with higher employment densities are more likely to more frequent driving trips for shopping, and also more frequent online
walk/bike to get to shopping destinations and are also more frequent shopping – possibly because families with more cars are more likely to
in-store shoppers. Although few studies have found that shopping ac- live in areas far from stores and bus stops. Households with higher
cessibility could also increase online searching and purchasing (Farag numbers of vehicles also make fewer shopping trips than households
et al., 2007), this study did not find any relationship between land use without a car, possibly due to trip-chaining options (Srinivasan & Bhat,
mix as a proxy for shopping accessibility and online shopping. 2005; Van & Senior, 2000).
People who live in the CBD reported greater usage of the internet This study has few limitations. First, our sample includes re-
overall, but they were also more frequent in-store shoppers. Previous spondents only from urban districts, and our findings could not be
research has found that residents of urban areas are more likely to shop generalized to an exurban or rural context. More studies are needed to
online due to better access to fast internet connectivity (Sener & Reeder, increase the generalizability of the findings by utilizing a sample from
2012). Although we selected our sample from three different locations urbanized as well as less-urbanized areas with variety of land use
including the CBD, sub-center, and inner-suburban areas, we did not measures and virtual accessibility. Moreover, our study does not ac-
observe a significant difference in terms of internet speed across the count for retail segments in terms of the types of products that could be
three. Therefore, the higher internet experience for residents of CBD purchased online. We recommend future researchers identify how dif-
districts in this study could be explained by the higher incomes present ferences in commercial segments (for example, the market for books
in these districts. According to the indirect effects of built environment versus the market for hardware or non-prescription medications) are
resulted from the mediating variables (usual mode of transport for associated with online or in-store shopping behavior of consumers.
shopping), residents of sub-centers are less likely to walk to shopping Our findings confirm significant interactions between in-store and
destinations, and usually take public transit for shopping trips. They online shopping frequencies. Controlling for observed and latent vari-
also reported higher frequencies of in-store shopping. This result is ables including the built environment variables, familiarity with in-
consistent with previous studies that found suburban neighborhoods to ternet, shopping attributes, consumer attitudes and lifestyles, we found
be highly associated with in-store shopping at high frequencies (Cao that frequent in-store shoppers are likely to conduct more online
et al., 2010). shopping as well. It is likely that the same, but moderating, relationship
According to our analysis, several socioeconomic attributes are exists when we explore the impacts of online shopping on in-store
significant determinants of in-store and online shopping behavior. shopping frequency. Overall, these findings support the evidence from

R. Etminani-Ghasrodashti and S. Hamidi Cities 103 (2020) 102768

past studies, which points to the complementary relationships between Transportation Research Board, 2157, 147–154.
online and in-store shopping (Farag et al., 2007; Krizek et al., 2005; Lee Cao, X., & Mokhtarian, P. L. (2005). The intended and actual adoption of online purchasing:
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CRediT authorship contribution statement
Ferrell, C. E. (2005). Home-based teleshopping and shopping travel: Where do we find the
time? Paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board,
Roya Etminani-Ghasrodashti:Conceptualization, Methodology, January 2005, Washington, DC.
Forsythe, S. M., & Shi, B. (2003). Consumer patronage and risk perceptions in Internet
Data curation, Formal analysis, Writing - original draft, Writing -
shopping. Journal of Business Research, 56(11), 867–875.
review & editing.Shima Hamidi: Writing - review & editing. Fried, M., Havens, J. J., & Thall, M. (1977). Travel behavior-a synthesized theory: Final
report; prepared for National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Transportation
Declaration of competing interest Research Board, National Research Council. Boston College: Laboratory of psychosocial
Ganzeboom, H. (1988). Leefstijlen in Nederland: Een verkennende studie (Lifestyles in the
The authors declare that they have no known competing financia- Netherlands: An Exploratory Study). Rijswijk: Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau.
Gerend, J. (2017). The impacts of e-commerce on the high street: Nascent responses in
linterestsor personal relationships that could have appeared to influ- Germany. Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal, 10(3), 266–275.
ence the work reported in this paper. Gohary, A., Hamzelu, B., & Alizadeh, H. (2016). Please explain why it happened! How
perceived justice and customer involvement affect post-co-recovery evaluations: A
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