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An empirical re-evaluation of consumer disadvantage

Woodliffe, Lucy



Consumer disadvantage, concerned with inequality in the market place, is a topic that has attracted waves of interest for over 30 years. Despite recent, renewed interest among academics in marketing and related disciplines, it remains to be clearly conceptualized, debated or extensively empirically tested. This paper aims to address these issues, using findings from a qualitative study (focus groups) on grocery shopping which took place in a district centre in Southampton, UK. The findings demonstrate that consumer disadvantage should be thought of as a complex process, rather than as a pre-determined state based on membership of social disadvantage groups. The paper is the first to ask participants whether they perceive consumer disadvantage in relation to their own shopping experiences and reveals that disadvantaged consumers could be better off than traditionally thought. However, distortive psychological processes may be at work which mean positive accounts of shopping behaviour should not necessarily be taken at face value. © 2007, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Woodliffe, L. (2007). An empirical re-evaluation of consumer disadvantage. International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 17(1), 1-21.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Journal International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Print ISSN 1466-4402
Electronic ISSN 1466-4402
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 1-21
Keywords consumer disadvantage, disadvantaged consumers,
low-income consumers, grocery retailing, shopping behaviour, focus groups
Public URL
Publisher URL