Keyword

Shopping Behaviour; Latvia; Ethnicity; Demographics

Abstract

The retail sector in transitional markets such as Latvia represents the fastest growing retail market in the European Union (Baltic Business News, 2007) but countries such as Latvia also possess a retail consumer base that is ethnically divided. One of the legacies of the Soviet Union is the approximately 25 million ethnic Russians that live in the former non-Russian Republics of the Soviet Union. Ethnic Russians, and by extension, ethnic Russian consumers, represent a non-trivial market within these newly independent states. Although the ethnic Russian minority literature embodies a large field of inquiry, no known studies have examined this phenomenon in terms of empirical international consumer research. This study presents the findings of consumer shopping surveys, divided along ethnic lines, Latvian and Russian, in the capital city of Riga, in the former Soviet Republic of Latvia. The research findings indicate that there are both similarities and differences in shopping behaviour when analyzed along ethnic lines. The survey findings were based upon actual consumer shopping experiences at the two major hypermarkets operating in Riga, Maxima and Rimi. The findings indicate that ethnic consumers reactions to service quality drivers and responses to service delivery, provides meaningful insight for store planning (both physical location, and in-store), sales training (cultural understandings) differ, and that store policy development (product returns and exchanges, stated v


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