In general, shopping has always catered to middle class and upper class women. Shopping is fragmented and pyramid-shaped. At the pinnacle are elegant boutiques for the affluent; a huge belt of inelegant but ruthlessly efficient “discounters” flog plenty at the pyramid’s precarious middle. According to the analysis of Susan D. Davis, at its base are the world’s workers and poor, on whose cheapened labor the rest of the pyramid depends for its incredible abundance. Shopping has evolved from single stores to large malls containing many stores that most often offer attentive service, store credit, delivery, and acceptance of returns. These new additions to shopping have encouraged and targeted middle class women.
In recent years, online shopping has become popular; however, it still caters to the middle and upper class. In order to shop online, one must be able to have access to a computer, a bank account and a debit card.
Shopping has evolved with the growth of technology. According to research found in the Journal of Electronic Commerce, if we focus on the demographic characteristics of the in-home shopper, in general, the higher the level of education, income, and occupation of the head of the household, the more favourable the perception of non-store shopping.
An influential factor in consumer attitude towards non-store shopping is exposure to technology, since it has been demonstrated that increased exposure to technology increases the probability of developing favourable attitudes towards new shopping channels.
Online shopping widened the target audience to men and women of the middle class. At first, the main users of online shopping were young men with a high level of income and a university education. This profile is changing. For example, in USA in the early years of Internet there were very few women users, but by 2001 women were 52.8% of the online population. Sociocultural pressure has made men generally more independent in their purchase decisions, while women place greater value on personal contact and social relations.
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