Change in consumer behaviour related to the emergence of shopping centres in South African townships : the case of Mega City at Umlazi V section, Durban.
Mpungose, Nompumelelo Celiwe Princess.
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The shopping centre phenomenon in South Africa received more attention as the number of shopping malls increased significantly in the townships in the mid-1990s. The increase in shopping centres led to a change in consumer behaviour. It became important for retailers and developers to understand the effects of consumer behaviour when structuring the retail system. As such this study explores the changes in consumer behaviour in South African townships in relation to the emergence of Mega City shopping centre in Umlazi Township in the city of Durban. The study is based on in-depth interviews with randomly selected customers at Mega City shopping centre and also household surveys conducted in the Umlazi V section to determine the change in consumer behaviour induced by the introduction of shopping centres. These interviews were also conducted with shopkeepers from various service shops within shopping centre and other key informants from Umlazi V section. The study reveals that shopping experiences in South African townships have drastically changed due to the introduction of shopping malls as the consumers can now access a variety of services within their communities. This is due to the possibility of shopping within a short distance as it reduces costs both in time and money. The study highlights that the development of shopping centres in South African townships in the mid-90s changed consumer behaviour both quantitatively and qualitatively. The key factors that were identified by the study as playing a big role in influencing consumer choices and experiences due to the development of shopping centres include location, accessibility, services offered, competition and affordability of products and services.