Personal Values and Mall Shopping Behaviour

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Personal values and mall

shopping behaviour

The mediating role of intention among Chinese


Yuanfeng Cai and Randall Shannon

College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify underlying personal values that determine the mall shopping behaviour of Chinese consumers and to propose shopping intention as an additional mediator that enhances the value-behaviour link.

Design/methodology/approach – A self-administered web-based survey with convenience sampling was used to collect the data. A structural equation modeling technique was used to test the proposed model.

Findings – Chinese mall shoppers’ behaviours were found to be explained by value orientations which were both similar and different from their counterparts in the West. While Western mall shoppers are more likely to be directed by social affiliation and self-actualising values in previous studies, Chinese mall shoppers are more likely to be influenced by self-transcendence and self-enhancement (similar to self-actualising) values in the present study. Additionally, shopping intention was found to improve the predictive power of consumers’ attitude toward mall attributes in terms of shopping frequency and money spent in the mall.

Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of this study is related to measurement error, derived from using simplified instruments to measure personal values. In addition, both personal values and attitudes are abstract constructs, which are difficult to measure; therefore this may also contribute to a larger error variance.

Practical implications – The results of this study are especially beneficial for mall developers and retailers for crafting effective positioning strategies and guiding their communication strategies in the China market.

Originality/value – The proposed model makes a theoretical contribution by testing a Western theory in a non-Western context. In addition, the proposed model helps researchers better understand the value-behaviour relationship in a more comprehensive framework.

Keywords Mall shopping, Personal values, Attitudes, Shopping intention, Chinese consumers; Schwartz Value Survey, Shopping, China

Paper type Research paper


While the mall industry appears to be saturated in many of the developed Western countries today, the mall industry in China is witnessing fast growth through the flow of both local and foreign investment (Chu and Kuwako, 2010). However, it is reported that about 22 per cent of existing malls have failed in their performance (Zikoo, 2008). One possible reason is the homogeneity of the malls in terms of products and services provided (Templin, 1997; Wong et al., 2001). Thus, a key issue for mall managers is to create a feasible competitive marketing strategy that is not easily duplicated by competitors.

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at




Received 18 September 2010 Revised 5 December 2011 Accepted 10 December 2011

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management Vol. 40 No. 4, 2012 pp. 290-317

q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0959-0552


It is suggested that a mall image reflects the total value of a shopping centre, as a more favourable and unique image should create a competitive advantage that is difficult for competitors to duplicate (Steenkamp and Wedel, 1991; Howard, 1997), as shoppers seek image congruity between the retail image and their self-image to determine their retailer patronage (Martineau, 1958; Sirgy et al., 2000). According to Martineau (1958), a store image is formed by shoppers’ perceptions of both the store’s functional qualities and psychological attributes. The psychological attributes are intangible emotional perceptions received by shoppers (Martineau, 1958), thus are more subjective and difficult to compare. Values could serve as a type of psychological attributes that work as a basis for developing clear-cut attraction to shoppers, as consumers have been found to express their values through shopping (Michon and Chebat, 2004; Bjerke and Polegato, 2006). Additionally, values have been considered as one of the most important psychological constructs by many social psychologists (e.g. Feather, 1990; Schwartz, 1992). Thus, values could be critical psychological components of mall image. If the functional qualities of malls are viewed as similar, consumers may be more likely to patronise a mall with an image that reflects their underlying values rather than a mall that does not stress such values.

Over the decades, it has widely been acknowledged that personal values can serve as grounds for behavioural decisions in consumption behaviour (Tai, 2008; Doran, 2009; Durvasula et al. 2011). Consumption behaviours are viewed as a means to achieving desired end-states or values (Michon and Chebat, 2004; Wagner, 2007). However, the major criticism of examining a simple relationship between values and behaviour is that values are relatively abstract, thus are viewed as distal determinants of behaviour that can only affect behaviour through a number of less abstract or more proximal determinants, like attitudes and beliefs (e.g. Thogersen and Grunert, 1997; Shim and Eastlick, 1998; Shim and Maggs, 2005; Hartman et al., 2006). Accordingly, a value-attitude-behaviour (VAB) hierarchy was developed and has been validated in several studies with respect to healthy food consumption (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Grunert and Juhl, 1995), environmental behaviour (McCartly and Shrum, 1993; Thogersen and Grunert, 1997), and e-shopping behaviour ( Jayawardhena, 2004). In recent years, different mediators have been explored to explain the value-behaviour relationship. For instance, Hartman et al. (2006) develop a value-innovativeness-behaviour hierarchy to explain web consumption value-innovativeness-behaviour of adolescents.

However, the testing of the model in a mall setting has been limited (Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Although several researchers have identified what underlying values may determine consumers’ mall shopping behaviour (e.g. Shim and Eastlick, 1998; Erdem et al., 1999; Stoel et al., 2004), few have systematically articulated how these values influence mall shopping behaviour with theoretical support. Additionally, as the findings of these studies are mainly derived from a Western context, it is unclear whether similar values and patterns in which values influence behaviour will be found in a Chinese context. In their study, Shim and Eastlick (1998) replicate Homer and Kahle’s (1988) work, and find that compared with the previous study, the link between attitude and behaviour is weaker in a mall setting, which implies the existence of additional factors which may influence this relationship, given the contextual nature of mall shopping behaviour. Therefore, in an attempt to bridge these gaps, this study tests the previously developed VAB model to examine what and how personal values influence consumers’ mall shopping behaviour in China. Additionally, this study seeks

Personal values


to improve the VAB model by exploring the mediating effect of attitude and shopping intention.

This study contributes to the existing mall shopping literature at the theoretical and practical levels in the following ways. First, this study tests a theory developed in the West in a non-Western country (i.e. China). Second, although previous studies have examined the attitude-intention (Bagozzi et al., 2000; Ajzen, 2008;) and attitude-behaviour/intention relations (Teng et al., 2007; Kim and Chung, 2011), to the best knowledge of the authors, no study has put personal values, attitude, intention and behaviour into the same model in a mall setting. Third, the findings of this study can help mall managers to craft effective competitive marketing strategies by meeting consumers’ wants and needs at a deeper level. Bachrach (1995) proposes that understanding the underlying personal values that guide consumers’ mall shopping behaviour will enable mall managers to win their shoppers emotionally and gain their trust relatively more easily.

Conceptual background and hypotheses

A previous study in a Western context suggests that personal values are determinants of consumers’ mall shopping behaviour, however, values only influence behaviour indirectly through the mediating effect of attitude (Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Values are culturally determined (Rokeach, 1973), thus it is proposed that although a similar causal flow will be found in a Chinese context, values that predict mall shopping behaviour of Western shoppers may be different from the ones that predicts Chinese shoppers’ behaviour, given their sharp differences in cultural backgrounds. It is argued that in addition to attitude, other factors may also exist to influence the value-behaviour relationship, as mall shopping is a contextual-driven behaviour (Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Extant literature suggests that compared with attitude, shopping intention is a closer cognitive antecedent of behaviour (e.g. Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975; Fisher and Fisher, 1992; Gollwitzer, 1993). Therefore, it is argued that the VAB model may be improved by considering the mediating effect of shopping intention. Accordingly, a hypothesised model is developed. As shown in Figures 1 and 2, the model outlines the indirect relationship between personal values and mall shopping behaviour through the mediating effect of attitude and shopping intention. In

Figure 1. Hypothesised V-A-B model





the following section, the relationship between each pair of constructs and relevant hypotheses will be discussed.

The Schwartz Value Survey (SVS)

According to Rokeach (1973, p. 5), a value is defined as “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence”. In this study, the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) (Schwartz, 1992) is adapted to measure personal values, given its established reliability and validity derived from more than 200 samples in over 60 countries, including China (Schwartz and Sagiv, 1995; Schwartz, 1994, 1997). Schwartz believes that values are cognitive representations of three types of universal needs which apply to all societies (Schwartz, 1994):

(1) needs arising from the biological structure of humans; (2) needs to manage social connections and networks; and (3) needs to maintain a group and social institutions.

Based on these needs, the SVS defines ten broad values according to the motivation that underlies each of them (see Table I and Figure 1). As summarised by Egri and Ralston (2004) in their review of Schwartz’s (1994, 1997) work, the SVS identified ten universal values that are organised into a system of four types of higher-order values:

(1) openness to change (self-direction, stimulation, hedonism); (2) conservation (conformity, security, tradition);

(3) self-enhancement (achievement, power); and (4) self-transcendence (benevolence, universalism).

Openness to change values relate to the importance of personal autonomy and independence, variety, excitement, and challenge. Conservation values relate to the importance of self-control, safety, and stability in societal and personal relationships, and to respecting cultural traditions. Self-enhancement values relate to achieving personal success through demonstrated competence, attaining social status and prestige, and control over others. Self-transcendence values relate to protecting and

Figure 2. Hypothesised V-A-I-B model

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enhancing the wellbeing of those with whom one has close contact, as well as the welfare of all people and nature.

One important feature of the SVS is its structure of dynamic relations among the ten values. As portrayed in Figure 3, conflicting values are in opposing directions from the centre, congruent values are adjacent to one another in the circle. The circular arrangement of the values represents a motivational continuum. The closer the proximity of any two values in either direction around the circle, the more similar their underlying motivations; and the more distant any two values, the more antagonistic

Value Definition

Power Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources Achievement Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social


Hedonism Pleasure and sensuous gratification for oneself Stimulation Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life

Self-direction Independent thought and action-choosing, creating, exploring

Universalism Understanding, appreciation, tolerance and protection of the welfare of all people and of nature

Benevolence Preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact

Tradition Respect, commitment and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide the self

Conformity Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms

Security Safety, harmony and stability of society, of relationships, and of self Source: Adapted from Schwartz and Sagiv (1995)

Table I. Definitions of the motivational types of values in terms of their core goal Figure 3. Theoretical model of relations among 10 motivational types of values





their underlying motivations (Schwartz, 1992, 1994). For example, pursuing power values may be in conflict with pursuing universalism values. But pursuing both power and authority values may be congruent.

Value, attitude and behaviour

Consistent with the notion that “all shopping centres are to some degree leisure centres” (Howard, 2007, p. 668), mall shopping behaviour has been found to be motivated by social and/or recreational needs (De Nisco and Napolitano, 2006; El-Adly, 2007; Maronick, 2007; Michon et al., 2007; Lotz et al., 2010). In line with these needs, several researchers have identified the values that influence consumers’ shopping behaviour in the mall. For example, Roy (1994) proposes that affiliation, power, or stimulation are specific values that are positively correlated with mall shopping behaviour. In a more systematic study, Shim and Eastlick (1998) find both social affiliation (i.e. fun and enjoyment and friendly relationship) and self-actualising values (i.e. self-fulfillment, sense of accomplishment and self-respect) have positive influence on consumers’ mall shopping behaviour in terms of time and money spent, and that compared with self-actualising values, social affiliation values demonstrate a stronger effect. Similarly, Swinyard (1998) argues that frequent mall shoppers tend to place more importance on both self-actualising and social affiliation values* *(i.e. “sense of

belonging”, “warm relationships”, “security” and “excitement” values). More recently, Michon and Chebat (2004) find French-speaking and English-speaking Canadian mall shoppers are guided by hedonic values. Other researchers propose positive effect of hedonic values on perceived mall image (Thompson and Chen, 1998; Erdem et al., 1999) and shopping intention (Stoel et al., 2004).

Nevertheless, the above findings are mainly derived from a Western context. Similar studies based on a Chinese context have been very limited. Given that values are culturally determined (Rokeach, 1973), it is believed that values used to understand Western mall shoppers’ behaviour may not be applied to explain Chinese mall shoppers’ behaviour directly, given the sharp difference in their culture. It is expected that the value orientation of Chinese mall shoppers could be inferred by learning their cultural values.

It is widely accepted that Western countries tend to share individualistic cultural values (Hofstede, 1980). Consumers from individualistic cultures make decisions on an individual basis (Usunier and Lee, 2005; Reisinger, 2009). Several scholars propose that consumers from individualistic cultures are more hedonic than individuals from collectivistic cultures (Schwartz, 1992; Triandis, 1993; Kacen and Lee, 2002). The rewards such as pleasure, enjoyment and excitement, which are derived from hedonic shopping (Babin et al., 1994) are intrinsic-oriented. Therefore, hedonic/recreational shopping is a form of self-determination (Campbell, 1997) and is more emotion driven (Usunier and Lee, 2005; Reisinger, 2009). In terms of the SVS (Schwartz, 1992), it is likely that shoppers from individualistic culture will be guided by openness to change and self-enhancement, as they are values that tend to lead to behaviours that focus on individual interests (Schwartz, 1992, 1994, 1997; Triandis, 1993).

In contrast, as a collectivistic country (Hofstede, 1980), Chinese culture emphasises the importance of group interest; group activity, consensus, cooperation, support and loyalty are vital for social harmony (Rarick, 2009; Reisinger, 2009). Consumers from collectivistic cultures make decisions in consensus with the group, thus their buying

Personal values


behaviour is less emotional and more rational (Van den Putte, 1993; Reisinger, 2009). In order to reinforce group membership and affiliation or reduce the risk of not being accepted, individuals in a collectivistic society tend to value products to fulfill social or functional needs (Roth, 1995). Furthermore, in its recent history, a hedonic life style, which is criticised as self-indulgent and wasteful, is discouraged by China’s ruling party (Li et al., 2004). As a result, Chinese shoppers have been found to view shopping at the mall as a utilitarian task, rather than a place for fun and recreational activities. For example, Tsang et al. (2003) compare mall shopping behaviour between consumers from Hong Kong and Xi’an (a city located in the West of the China) and find that Xi’an shopers tend to be more utilitarian-driven while Hong Kong shoppers tend to visit malls with multiple purposes. Similarly, Li et al. (2004) compare Chinese and US mall shoppers and find that whereas American shoppers are more likely to shop with both utilitarian and hedonic reasons, Chinese shoppers primarily shop for utilitarian reasons. In terms of the SVS (Schwartz, 1992), both self-transcendence and conservation values stress more importance on rationality and group interests (e.g. self-control, safety, stability in societal and personal relationships, protecting and enhancing the well-being of those with whom one has close contact, as well as the welfare of all people and nature) (Schwartz, 1992, 1994, 1997; Triandis, 1993). Therefore, it is expected that Chinese shoppers will be more likely to be guided by these two values.

Although personal values can serve as grounds for consumer behaviour (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Shim and Eastlick, 1998), the majority of the existing literature support that personal values are hypothesised to have only an indirect effect on mall shopping behaviour through attitude (Kahle, 1980; Homer and Kahle, 1988; Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Extant literature suggests that values, given its abstract nature, only influence consumer behaviour indirectly through some less abstract mediating factors (e.g. Kahle, 1980; Homer and Kahle, 1988; Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Attitudes have been found to be mediating factors, which help explain the value-behaviour link (Kahle, 1980; Pitts and Woodside, 1983; Homer and Kahle, 1988; Shim and Eastlick, 1998). In the present study, attitude refers to consumers’ attitude toward salient mall attributes (Shim and Eastlick, 1998). We hypothesise that:

H1. Personal value dimensions relate directly to attitude toward attributes of a shopping mall. Specifically, consumers who place more importance on self-transcendence and conservation values are more likely to hold favourable attitudes toward mall attributes than those who place more importance on openness to change and self-enhancement values.

A positive relationship between attitude and behaviour has been empircially supported in past studies. Consumers’ favourable attitude has been found related positively with healthy food consumption (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Grunert and Juhl, 1995), environmental-friendly behaviour (McCarty and Shrum, 1993; Thogersen and Grunert, 1997; Schultz and Zelezny, 1998), and e-shopping behaviour ( Jayawardhena, 2004). In a mall setting, Shim and Eastlick (1998) find that consumers’ favourable attitude toward mall attributes has positive effect on their money spent and shopping frequency. Three aspects of shopping behaviour are investigated in the present study, namely shopping frequency, money spent in the mall and time spent in the mall during the mall visit, as they are among the important behaviours examined by previous mall researchers




(Nicholls et al., 2000; Nicholls et al., 2002; Li et al., 2003; Li et al., 2004; Tsang et al., 2003). Given the theoretical foundations and the empirical evidence, it is predicted that consumers with favourable attitude towards mall attributes will be more willing to visit the mall frequently, spend more money and stay longer during their mall visit. Hence:

H2. Consumers’ attitude towards mall attributes relate positively to their shopping frequency (H2a), money spent in the mall (H2b), and time spent in the mall (H2c).

Intention and behaviour

The findings from a previous study reveal that although attitude toward a shopping mall can directly influence mall-shopping behaviour, the relationship between these two constructs is relatively weak (Shim and Eastlick, 1998). One possible reason may be the omission of intention. A number of theorists have proposed that the intention to perform a behaviour, rather than attitude, is the closest cognitive antecedent of actual behavioural performance (e.g. Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975; Fisher and Fisher, 1992; Gollwitzer, 1993). This is because the performance of a specific behaviour can perhaps be best explained by considering the proximal attitude toward the behaviour rather than more distal attitude toward the object at which the behaviour is directed (Shim and Maggs, 2005; Hartman et al., 2006, p. 214).

Warshaw and Davis (1985) define intention as “the degree to which a person has formulated conscious plans to perform or not perform some specified future behaviour”. Several meta-analyses of the empirical literature have provided evidence to show that intention can be predicted with considerable accuracy from measures of attitude toward the behaviour (e.g. Sheppard et al., 1998; Ajzen, 2008;). Evidence concerning the relationship between intentions and behaviours/actions has been collected with respect to many different types of behaviours (see Sheppard et al., 1998, for a comprehensive review). Meta-analyses covering diverse behavioural domains have reported mean intention-behaviour correlations of 0.47 (Notani, 1998; Armitage and Conner, 2001), 0.53 (Sheppard et al., 1998), 0.45 (Randall and Wolff, 1994), and 0.62 (Van den Putte, 1993). Thus, it is proposed that:

H3. The effect of consumers’ attitude towards mall attributes on their shopping frequency (H3a), money spent in the mall (H3b), and time spent in the mall (H3c) is mediated by their shopping intention.

Research methodology Questionnaire development

A survey questionnaire was developed based upon a comprehensive review of related literature. The questionnaire was written in English and translated into Chinese and then back-translated into English by three independent, professional, bilingual translators to ensure consistency and translation equivalence (Douglas and Craig, 1983; Hui and Triandis, 1985). Original and back-translated versions were compared for equivalence and measures were refined where necessary. The questionnaire was then pre-tested using a convenience sample of 30 respondents. After completion, suggestions and comments were collected from respondents to identify potential errors in terms of the wording, phrasing and sequencing of questions, which were then

Personal values


corrected. Items with similar meaning, which could not be clearly distinguished, were eliminated. The 30 respondents in the pilot test were then excluded from the final data set.


Previous studies have adopted the List of Values (LOV) to measure personal values (e.g. Homer and Kahle, 1988; Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Nevertheless, the LOV has been criticised for not being a stable instrument when applied across cultures (Watkins and Gnoth, 2005). It is too broad to measure specific shopping behaviour (Hansen, 2008). Therefore, this study adopts the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) (Schwartz, 1992) to measure personal values as it:

. exhibits both external and convergent validity;

. uses both Western and non-Western sources to derive cultural value dimensions;


. controls for meaning equivalence (Schwartz, 1999).

Due to space constraints, a shortened version of Schwartz’s Value Survey was adopted in the present study. The shortened scale was modified by Kim (2002) based on three past studies (Maio and Olson, 1995; Stern et al., 1995; Schultz and Zelezny, 1998). A total of 22 items were selected from the original 57-item Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) (Schwartz, 1992) to measure personal values. Although these 22 items were originally modified to fit a pro-environmental behaviour context, they also appeared to be centrally located and occurred most frequently in each of Schwartz’s ten primary values types (Kim, 2002). Therefore, it is believed that the scale should also pertain to the present study. Respondents were asked to rate each item on a nine-point unipolar scale with the end points “not important at all” and “of decisive importance as a guiding principle in my life.” The respondents were instructed to read the list of values first, then list out the value that was most important to them, and then list out the value most opposed to their values. They were then required to rate the remaining values based on their importance.

Consistent with a previous study (Shim and Eastlick, 1998), attitude was assessed using the multivariate attribute model (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975). Based on a comprehensive literature review (e.g. Bellenger et al., 1977; Wong et al., 2001; Sit et al., 2003), an initial list of mall attributes (27 items) were identified (see the Appendix for details). As these attributes were mainly derived from a Western context, a focus group was then conducted to finalise the mall attributes that specifically match the present study. The focus group was comprised of five female respondents with a range of ages between 20-45 with different social class, occupations and income levels. Based on the results, 22 mall attributes were selected to measure respondents’ attitude towards shopping malls (see the Appendix). These attributes cover categories like merchandising, service, accessibility, entertainment, and atmospherics. Based on the mean ratings, the ten most important attributes were selected to represent the most salient attributes (Engel et al., 1993; Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Respondents were first asked to indicate the importance of each mall attribute, using a six-point scale (1 ¼ extremely unimportant; 6 ¼ extremely important), they were then asked to indicate the extent to which the mall that they shop at the most frequently was perceived to be similar for each of these characteristics along another six-point scale




(1 ¼ strongly disagree; 6 ¼ strongly agree). A six-point scale was adopted because of the potential problem of courtesy-bias on the part of Asian respondents (Ayer, 1970), who tend to select the middle path to maintain harmony, which can result in a high number of neutral responses. Belief ratings for each attribute were multiplied by respective importance ratings to provide an expectancy-performance measure of each attribute (i.e. attitude toward mall attributes). This approach has a basis in theory proposed by Fishbein and Ajzen (1975, p. 223), which states “attitudes are based on the total set of the person’s salient beliefs and the evaluations associated with those beliefs.”

Based on a meta-analysis on 87 studies, Sheppard et al. (1998) suggest that the intention-behaviour relation is stronger when an estimation measure (e.g. It is likely/unlikely that I will do X) is used. Individual’s estimates are likely to include some consideration of needed resources, abilities, skills and experience, the cooperation of others, and so on. It appears that individuals do well when they try to estimate their own future performance of various goals, because intervening factors are taken into account as they attempt to estimate whether they will achieve their goals (Sheppard et al., 1998). Therefore, as an estimation measure for intention, Macintosh and Lockshin’s (1997) four items were employed in the present study. After the pilot test, one item was removed due to its similar meaning with other items. An example being “In the future, my shopping at this mall will be very likely.”

In a previous study (Shim and Eastlick, 1998), shopping behaviour was operationalised by calculating the average monthly expenditure at the mall. In this study, shopping behaviour was assessed by examining consumers’ shopping frequency, money and time spent in the mall. It is expected that by doing so, the effect of personal values on specific types of shopping behaviour can be examined, thus provide further insights for researchers.

The shopping mall in the present study was specified as any regional shopping mall that the respondents had visited during the past three months. Respondents were asked to write down the name of the mall that they visited to further confirm that they did not confuse the malls with other shopping venues.

Sampling and data collection

Given that the objective of this study is to derive theoretical generalisability, not population generalisability, convenience sampling was employed. As street intercept surveys are prohibited in China, this study mainly utilised an online survey when collecting the data. The website of the questionnaire was posted at several big online communities (e.g. the local BBS, forums etc.), where a large number of potential respondents could be accessed. In order to encourage participation, a cash drawing was provided. A smaller number (around 25 per cent) of hard-copy surveys were distributed with convenience sampling at the same period of time to minimise potential sampling bias (Schaefer and Dillman, 1998; Illieva et al., 2002). An independent sample t-test indicates that no significant differences can be found between the data that collected from the two sources.

A total of 320 usable questionnaires were obtained with a response rate of 30 per cent. The relatively low number of usable surveys obtained is because many respondents did not understand what a regional shopping mall is, confusing it with other shopping venues such as department store, greater merchandiser or anchor supermarket within a shopping mall, likely because the format is relatively new. After

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cleaning and editing the data, the final number of questionnaires with no missing values for all variables under analysis was 305.

Respondent characteristics

As shown in Table I, two-thirds of the respondents are female and single. A large proportion of them (95 per cent) fall between the 20 to 38 year age range. More than half the respondents have a bachelor’s degree or higher and hold white-collar positions. Around 50 per cent of respondents have moderate monthly income between 2,000 to 6,000 Yuan (See Table II).

Results of analysis

Byrne (2010) asserts that confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of a measuring instrument is most appropriately applied to measures that have been fully developed, and their factor structures previously validated. The Schwartz Values Survey scale

Characteristic % Gender(%) Male 33.8 Female 66.2 Age (%) 20-26 years old 56.7 27-38 years old 38.7 39-50 years old 3.9 51-67 years old 0.7 Marital status (%) Single 65.9 Married 31.1 Divorced 0.3 Others 2.6 Education (%)

Junior High and below 0.7

High School 5.9 Diploma 23.9 Bachelor 62 Master 5.6 PhD 2 Occupation (%) White collar 67.2 Blue collar 3.9 Student 19.3 Private business 4.6 Retired 0.3 Unemployed 4.6 Income (%) Under 2,000 Yuan 31.8 2,000-4,000 Yuan 30.8 4,001-6,000 Yuan 20.3 6,001-80,000 Yuan 6.2 80,001-10,000 Yuan 6.2

10,000 Yuan and above 4.6

Table II.

Respondent profiles




employed in the present study has been tested in over 200 studies in more than 60 countries among different respondents (Schwartz and Boehnke, 2004), and serves as a qualified candidate for CFA. However, researchers in previous values studies (e.g. Homer and Kahle, 1988; Jayawardhena, 2004; Shim and Eastlick, 1998) suggest running a principal component factor analysis with a varimax rotation prior to a direct CFA test. This is due to following reasons:

. the importance of personal values dimensions tend to be varied upon situational

factors in different contexts (Kahle, 1983; Homer and Kahle, 1988; Beatty et al., 1991);

. it is suggested that resultant factors should be used in a causal modeling

technique (Kahle and Kennedy, 1989) to avoid single-item measurements that are frequently raised in value surveys (Braithwaite and Scott, 1991); and

. the running of EFA is regarded as a necessary procedure prior to assessing

reliability of multi-item constructs (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988).

Three factors, namely Self-transcendence (ST), Self-enhancement (SE), and Openness to change (OPEN) were extracted from the factor analysis results, explaining 54.8 per cent of variance for the samples. Only one item of the Conservation value was left and it fell into the ST factor.

Note that shopping frequency, money, and time spent, are all measured by single-item scales in the model, therefore, they were adjusted to reflect estimated variance. Using the level of reliability (0.85) employed in previous studies (Shim and Eastlick, 1998), the error variance for each variable was estimated at 0.15 (1-reliability) (Hair et al., 2006, p. 857).

Confirmatory factor analysis

In the present study, SPSS 16.0 and structural equation modeling via AMOS 17.0 are used to test the hypotheses. Before proceeding with structural equation modeling (SEM), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed initially to validate the scales measuring the constructs (Hair et al., 2006).

As can be seen from Table III, the results of the measurement model indicate that the factor loadings of the latent variables are generally high and statistically significant (i.e. . 0.50, p , 0.001). The fact that all t-tests are significant indicates that all items are measuring the construct they are associated with. Convergent validity may be further evidenced if each indicator’s standardised loading on its posited latent construct is greater than twice its standard error (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988). The results indicate that all items under investigation meet this requirement. Discriminant validity is demonstrated if both AVEs are greater than the squared correlation (Hair et al., 2006), and was met by both samples.

As shown in Table III, the AVE for several variables are below 0.50. Hatcher (1994, p. 331) notes that “very often variance extracted estimates will be below 0.50”. Fortunately, AVE is not the only diagnostic measure to assess convergent validity. Given their acceptable composite reliability values (. 0.60) (Bagozzi and Yi, 1988), and item loadings (. 0.50), the convergent validity of the scales was established.

Structural equation model and the test of hypotheses

After confirming the fit of the measurement models with the data, the hypotheses are then tested with AMOS 17.0. The value-attitude-behaviour model was tested initially,

Personal values


Cronbach’s alpha Composite reliability a AVE b Std factor loading Std error Critical ratio (t -value) c ST 0.80 0.78 0.42 CON2 0.599 d –– ST4 0.655 0.108 8.536 ST3 0.564 0.114 7.686 ST2 0.709 0.126 8.962 ST1 0.688 0.104 8.805 SE 0.62 0.66 0.51 SE4 0.860 d –– SE3 0.522 0.166 3.874 OPEN 0.62 0.62 0.36 OPEN3 0.637 d –– OPEN2 0.561 0.136 6.339 OPEN1 0.589 0.157 6.456 ATT 0.82 0.83 0.42 Price level 0.557 d –– Merchan.quality 0.698 0.130 8.738 Return 0.646 0.158 8.335 Checking 0.685 0.154 8.637 Atmosphere 0.592 0.148 7.875 Security 0.687 0.150 8.654 Cleanness 0.655 0.141 8.403 Intention 0.79 0.81 0.59 INTEN1 0.668 d – INTEN2 0.822 0.093 11.025 INTEN3 0.796 0.095 10.944 Notes: aComposite reliability assesses the internal consistency of items in a scale (Hatcher, 1994); bAVE (Average Variance Extracted) assesses the amount of variance captured by an underlying construct in relation to the amount of variance resulting from measurement error (Hatcher, 1994); cAll t-tests were significant at p , 0.001; d The first l path for each construct was set to 1, therefore, no SEs or t-values are given; ST: Self-transcendence, SE: Self-enhancement, OPEN: Openness to change Table III. Factor loadings, reliability and related information for CFA




the results indicated that the model demonstrates a moderately acceptable fit with the data ðx2¼ 372:941; df ¼ 166; x2=df ¼ 2:247; p ¼ 0:000; GFI ¼ 0:89; CFI ¼ 0.86,

RMSEA ¼ 0.064). As shown in Figure 4, after deleting the non-significant paths (i.e. openness to change values to attitude, attitude to time spent), the model yielded a x2 value of 237.220 ð p ¼ 0:000Þ with 117 degrees of freedom, x2/df of 2.028, and a GFI of 0.92, CFI of 0.91, RMSEA of 0.058. Both the GFI and CFI value were larger than the suggested cutoff of 0.9 (Hu and Bentler, 1999), the ratio of chi-square to degrees of freedom (x2/df) of 2.028 indicated a good model fit (Hair et al., 2006). A root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) of 0.058 indicated an acceptable fit. According to Browne and Cudeck (1993), a RMSEA value of 0.05 indicates a close fit, and values up to 0.08 suggest reasonable fit. Overall, the model demonstrates an acceptable fit with the data. H1 proposes that consumers who place more importance on self-transcendence and conservation values are more likely to generate a favourable attitude towards mall attributes as compared to those who place more importance on openness to change and self-enhancement values. As hypothesised, self-transcendence value has a positive effect on attitude towards mall attributes, namely:

. price level (MER1);

. merchandise quality (MER3); . return policy (MER4); . fast checking (SER5); . atmosphere (ATM2);

Figure 4. Final structural model of the influence of values on attitude and mall shopping behaviour

Personal values


. security (ATM6); and . cleanness (ATM7) (g

ST¼ 0.57, p , 0.001).

The openness to change value does not have any influence on attitude ( p . 0.05). Unexpectedly, the self-enhancement value has a positive effect on attitude ðgSE¼ 0:17;

p ¼ 0:018Þ: Therefore, H1 is partially supported.

H2 proposed that consumers’ attitude towards mall attributes relate positively to their shopping frequency (H2a), money spent in the mall (H2b), and time spent in the mall (H2c). According to the results of the analysis, attitude has a positive effect on shopping frequency ðbATT¼ 0:23; p ¼ 0:002Þ and money spent in the mall (bATT¼ 0.18, p ¼ 0:025Þ (See Figure 4). However, attitude does not have any effect

on consumers’ time spent in the mall ( p . 0.05). That is, the more consumers have favourable attitudes toward salient mall attributes, the more likely they will visit the mall frequently and spend more money during their visit, but it is not likely that they will stay longer in the mall. Additionally, it is found that consumers’ time spent in the mall has a positive influence on the amount of money spent during their visit (b ¼ 0.38, p , 0.000). Compared with attitude ðb ¼ 0:18; p ¼ 0:025Þ; time spent in the mall has a stronger effect on consumers’ money spent in the mall. Therefore, H2a and H2b are supported, but H2c is not supported.

The value-attitude-intention-behaviour model was then tested to justify H3. H3 predicted that shopping intention mediates the relationship between attitude and shopping frequency (H3a), money spent (H3b) and time spent in the mall (H3c). As shown in Figure 5, the final model yielded a x2value of 486.214 ð p ¼ 0:000Þ; with 225 degrees of freedom, GFI of 0.88, CFI of 0.86, RMSEA of 0.062. After deleting the

Figure 5.

Final structural model of the influence of values on attitude, shopping intention and mall shopping behaviour




non-significant paths (i.e. openness to change values to attitude, attitude to time spent), the model yielded a x2value of 338.115 ð p ¼ 0:000Þ; with 167 degrees of freedom, GFI

of 0.90, CFI of 0.90, RMSEA of 0.058. A further test indicated that this model was significantly different from the previous one ðDx2¼ 100:895;Ddf ¼ 50; p ¼ 0:000Þ; and the model demonstrated an acceptable fit to the data. As hypothesised, attitude has a positive effect on consumers’ shopping intention ðb ¼ 0:47; p , 0.001), shopping intention has a positive influence on total money spent in the mall ðb ¼ 0:20; p ¼ 0.009) and shopping frequency ðb ¼ 0:27; p , 0.001) (See Figure 5). However, shopping intention has no effect on time spent in the mall ( p . 0.05). The results of the analysis suggest that the stronger the consumers’ intention to shop, the more likely they will visit the mall frequently and spend more money during their mall visit, but it is unlikely that they will stay longer in the mall. In order to formally examine the mediating effect of shopping intention, Baron and Kenny’s (1986) three-step procedure was adopted. Baron and Kenny’s (1986) procedure suggests researchers should test: Y ¼ fðXÞ; M ¼ fðXÞ; and then Y ¼ fðM; XÞ; to examine if X’s effect on Y is mediated by M. The first step shows that attitude has a positive effect on shopping frequency ( p , 0.001) and money spent ( p , 0.05), given the absence of shopping intention. The second step shows that attitude has a positive effect on shopping intention ( p , 0.001). Step three shows that shopping intention has a positive effect on shopping frequency ( p , 0.001) and money spent ( p , 0.05). However, a direct relationship between attitude and shopping frequency and money spent became insignificant, given the presence of shopping intention. The results confirm a complete mediation of shopping intention between attitude and shopping frequency and money spent. Based on the findings, it is concluded that H3a and H3b are supported but H3c is not.

Discussion and conclusion

The findings of the present study reveal that Chinese who place more importance on self-transcendence and self-enhancement values are more likely to have a favourable attitude toward malls than those who place more importance on openness to change values, although the predictive power of self-transcendence exceeds the self-enhancement value. Consumers who have a favourable attitude towards malls are more likely to visit the mall frequently and spent more money during their mall visit. However, it is unlikely that such attitude will lead to longer time spent in the mall. The findings confirm that a value-attitude-behaviour (VAB) hierarchy is not only established in a Western context but also exists in the Chinese context. Additionally, shopping intention is found to mediate the relationship between attitude and shopping frequency and money spent in the mall. The predictive power of attitude improves when taking the shopping intention into account. That is, consumers who have a favourable attitude toward attributes of malls are more likely to form an intention to shop. Consequently, such intention leads to higher frequency of mall visit and more money spent in the mall. Shim and Eastlick (1998) argue that in addition to attitude, other factors may exist to influence consumers’ mall shopping behavior, given the contextual nature of such behaviour. The findings of this study lend empirical support to their argument. It is suggested that personal values can better influence consumers’ mall visit frequency and money spent during mall visit through their attitude and shopping intention. In short, a value-attitude-intention-behaviour (VAIB) hierarchy may work better to understand Chinese consumers’ mall shopping behaviour.

Personal values


Nevertheless, the findings should be interpreted cautiously, given the absence of an attitude-time spent and an intention-time spent links, which reveal that neither a VAB nor a VAIB model can explain consumers’ time spent in the mall. A stronger predictive power of time spent on money spent than attitude suggests that in addition to promoting a favourable attitude for mall shoppers, making them stay longer in the mall may also help stimulate their money expenditure. The findings may also shed additional light on the value- time spent relationship, which may be intervened by variables other than attitude and shopping intention.

Personal values that influence mall shoppers’ attitude toward mall attributes

A number of scholars argue that people shop for the benefit of value fulfillment (e.g. Kahle and Kennedy, 1989; Shim and Eastlick, 1998). Both self-transcendence and self-enhancement values have positive influence on consumers’ attitude towards mall attributes. Additionally, the predictive power of self-transcendence exceeds that of the self-enhancement value. Previous researchers propose that the self-transcendence value relates to protecting and enhancing the wellbeing of those with whom one has close contact, as well as the welfare of all people and nature (Schwartz, 1994, 1997; Egri and Ralston, 2004). Driven by these values, it is likely that first and foremost, Chinese consumers may visit a mall to satisfy their functional needs. The self-enhancement value relates to achieving personal success through demonstrated competence, attaining social status and prestige, and control over others (Schwartz, 1994, 1997; Egri and Ralston, 2004). In addition to buying, it is possible that some shoppers may consider shopping in a mall, which is frequently positioned with a luxury image, as a way to demonstrate their face or social status. The findings lend support to recent research conducted by Tai (2008). In an attempt to investigate the relationship between personal values and shopping orientations of working adults in Shanghai, Taipei, and HongKong, Tai (2008) finds that the self-actualisation value plays the most important role to influence consumers’ shopping orientations. Based on the findings, she further proposes that consumers who highly value respect, self-fulfillment, and sense of accomplishment may enhance their self-image through buying expensive products at exclusive stores. Thus, while variety and superb quality of merchandise remain critical to attract shoppers, the products and services tailored for meeting their symbolic needs may enhance the attractiveness of the mall. Given the joint weight of the self-enhancement value and face consciousness, it may be easier to understand why the majority of malls in China are positioned as upscale shopping venues. Nonetheless, as Shim and Eastlick (1998) argued, to some extent, such a luxury image may keep those price-conscious shoppers away, as they may view higher-order products synonomous with expensive prices. Therefore, this may be one of the main reasons that many malls are losing their market share to other shopping venues, which offer more competitively priced goods. This may be especially true for shoppers who seek products for private consumption, wherein price is a key concern for them (Li and Gallup, 1995; Scarry, 1996).

A key assumption of the present study is that values are culturally determined (Rokeach, 1973), therefore, to some extent, the personal values that guide Chinese consumers’ mall shopping behaviour should be correlated with their core cultural values. As expected, the importance of self-transcendence values lend support to this notion. Nevertheless, the importance of self-enhancement values, which are more likely to guide mall shopping behaviour of Western shoppers, is completed unexpected. To




some extent, the findings challenge Rokeach’s (1973) proposal. Additionally, the findings reveal that the importance of values is contextually-driven. Put together, the importance of values are determined, not only by culture, but also by context. Effects of attitude towards mall attributes on mall shopping behaviour

Consistent with previous findings that there is a positive relationship between favourable attitude and shopping behaviour (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Shim and Eastlick, 1998), a positive link between attitude and two aspects of mall shopping behaviours is found in the present study. Favourable attitude towards mall attributes is found to encourage shopping frequency and stimulate money spent in the mall. That is, the more favourable attitudes the Chinese have towards a shopping mall, the more frequently they will visit the mall and the more money they are likely to spend in the mall. However, attitude has a relatively stronger effect on shopping frequency than money spent in the mall. The absence of an attitude-time spent relationship may be explained that as Chinese are more utilitarian-driven shoppers, they tend to spend less time in the mall (Tsang et al., 2003). Their main task is to buy, thus once they finish the purchase, they are more likely to leave quickly. There are several possible reasons for their frequent visits. As the majority of the Chinese respondents are young and with a relatively low budget to shop, they may be trying to minimise expenditures in any given trip. The broader range of goods and services provided by the mall compared to other shopping venues (e.g. supermarket, department store and so on) may induce them to visit the mall frequently in order to update or collect product information. Effects of shopping intention on mall shopping behaviour

An important finding of this study is the stronger predictive power of shopping intention rather than attitude on shopping frequency and money spent in the mall. The finding reveals that the attitude-shopping frequency and attitude-money spent links can be improved by taking the mediating effect of shopping intention into account. A number of researchers argue that the effect of intentions in the attitude-behaviour relationship could vary along with the level of effort needed to perform the behaviour (Bagozzi and Yi, 1988; Bagozzi et al., 1990; Schultz and Oskamp, 1996). According to Bagozzi et al. (1990), behaviour that requires much effort are mostly determined deliberately and result from conscious thought processes before forming behavioural intentions. Likewise, behaviours that require little effort are guided by less deliberate thoughts thus are directly stimulated by attitudes. In other words, when the behaviour requires substantial effort, the mediating role of intentions will be strong, and attitudes will have only indirect effects on behaviour. In contrast, when the behaviour requires little effort, attitudes will influence behaviour directly and the mediating role of intentions will be reduced.

The notion that Chinese mall shoppers are more likely to be driven by utilitarian motivations has been well documented in the literature (e.g. Tse, 1996; Tsang et al., 2003; Li et al., 2004). Utilitarian shoppers tend to view shopping as work or a burden, rather than fun (Rao and Monroe, 1989; Sherry, 1990; Nicholls et al., 2000), and they are more time conscious than recreational shoppers (Hansen et al., 1977; Bellenger and Korgaonkar, 1980). Moreover, it is reported that the majority of Chinese do not consider shopping an attractive leisure activity (Chang, 2004; Tai, 2008). Thus, it is possible that much effort or deliberate conscious evaluation concerning the mall visit will be required for them to make their visit decision. Consequently, the intention to shop or

Personal values


not to shop will be more likely to form as the end result of the evaluation of the behaviour.

Reisinger (2009) proposes that for Chinese, shopping is a task that needs planning beforehand. Therefore, there is no surprise when consumers form strong intentions to shop, as they may visit the mall even more frequently to gather information about the product or services prior to their purchase. With an intention to shop in their mind, together with the rich product information, there is no doubt they will be more likely to spend their money eventually. Due to planning prior to their shopping trip, it is unlikely that they need to spend more time in the mall.

Implications and directions for future research

The results of the present study underscore some important implications for mall management. Previous mall researchers made great efforts to understand consumers’ mall shopping behaviour by investigating their shopping orientations and selection criteria (e.g. Arnold and Reynolds, 2003; El-Adly, 2007). However, rather than how consumers are different, what is more crucial to mall managers today is perhaps to figure out why they are different. Given that there are increasing numbers of homogeneous malls and more sophisticated and diversified consumer needs and wants, mall managers who understand the underlying reasons behind behaviour may gain advantages to position a distinctive mall image to retain their existing shoppers and win over new shoppers from their competitors.

Although this study is primarily theoretical, it is believed that the conceptual relationships between personal values and other variables may provide a useful framework for managerial decision-making and problem diagnosis.

First, rather than just answering how consumers are different, this study helps mall managers to understand why consumers are different, by learning their value orientations. Mall managers can stress those underlying values in all respects of their marketing strategies. For example, promotional strategies built upon self-transcendence and self-enhancement values may be effective to appeal to potential shoppers.

Second, personal values orientation could be used as an alternative segmentation basis. By identifying underlying personal values that determine consumers’ mall shopping behaviour, mall managers can gain insightful understanding about why consumers are different in their shopping behaviour. Value systems are found to provide richer and more meaningful descriptions of the underlying motivations that drive each segment (Kahle and Kennedy, 1989; Kamakura and Novak, 1992). Theoretically, different cultural values may influence shopping motivations and behaviour. Howard (1997) proposes that grouping consumers with similar values will provide segments with similar choice criteria and behaviours. In aggregate, Chinese shoppers appear to be more utilitarian. Thus, mall managers should standardise their marketing strategies when targeting segments that share similar value orientations.

Third, this study provides a practical guideline for managers to develop effective positioning strategies. According to the results of this study, a unique and favorable mall image could be positioned by corresponding to target consumers’ value orientations and focusing on their preferred mall attributes. By identifying target consumers’ underlying personal values that determine their shopping behaviours, managers will gain an inner-oriented understanding of their shoppers, thus helping win them emotionally and enhance their patronage. For instance, an image that




stresses the variety of products and services may be likely to attract Chinese shoppers. On the other hand, the mediating role that attitude play implies that by focusing on salient mall attributes that are favored by the target consumers, mall managers will be able to position a mall image to attract them functionally. Putting these together, a unique image that mirrors both emotional and functional needs and wants of consumers could create a competitive advantage that is more difficult to be duplicated by competitors. In addition, mall managers can evaluate their positioning strategies by checking whether they focus on the appropriate values and mall attributes.

Fourth, the predictive power of favourable attitude towards salient mall attributes for shopping behaviour can help mall managers make appropriate investment decisions and help them to predict the return of such investments. That is, mall managers will be able to figure out whether a new attribute should be developed and how the new investment would likely affect consumers’ shopping behaviour.

Fifth, given the important role that shopping intention plays in mediating the attitude-behaviour link, mall managers may want to try to help shoppers form their shopping intentions. One of the ways to stimulate shopping intention is to establish favourable atmospherics (Darden et al., 1983; Schlosser, 1998). Among many elements that contribute to atmospherics, mall managers can focus on music, as it can increase shoppers’ excitement (Wakefield and Baker, 1998), and it is one that can be easily controlled, inexpensive to produce and can be predicted based on shoppers’ age or lifestyle (Yalch and Spangenberg, 1993). A recent study reveals that happy music liked by consumers can effectively stimulate female shoppers’ shopping intention (Broekemier et al., 2008). Moreover, a number of researchers propose that highly satisfied shoppers are more likely to form positive repurchase intentions (Stoel et al., 2004; Grace and O’Cass, 2005). It is likely that consumers’ satisfaction levels may derive from their evaluation of the functional aspects of the mall attributes. Mall managers may identify these attributes by studying the gap between customer expectations towards these attributes versus their mall’s actual performance.

Finally, an important finding that should not be ignored is the positive influence of time spent on money spent in the mall. It is vital to keep the shoppers staying in the mall longer. As Chinese are more likely to shop for utilitarian reasons, recreational facilities that are popular in the West may be less attractive. Mall managers can diversify the goods and services provided in the mall, such as adding bookstores, beauty salons, post office, banks, clinics, laundry services, tutorial schools and so on to provide shoppers with more convenience and reasons to stay in the mall longer.

Future researchers may wish to examine how the embedding of personal values within marketing communications for malls affects consumers’ responses (such as attitude, preference or visitation). Researchers may also try to segment mall shoppers based on their underlying values, if not culturally, then perhaps by generational cohort or other psychographic groupings to explore relationships between values, attitudes and behaviours. In addition, it would be beneficial to identify underlying factors that contribute to mall shoppers’ shopping intention. Previous studies reveal that attitude-intention (Bagozzi et al., 2000; Lee, 2000) and attitude-behaviour relation (Kashima et al., 1992; Kacen and Lee, 2002) are weaker in collectivistic than individualistic cultures. Future studies may test the two models in this study between China with other Western countries to explore differences. Additionally, future studies could contrast similarities or differences between other countries within Asia, or within

Personal values


the EU or South America, to further explore differences between similar cultures, such as those labelled collectivistic or individualistic. A more comprehensive model that includes the moderating effect of level of effort required to conduct the behaviour might be added into the value-attitude-intention-behaviour model, which may help researchers gain further insight into the value-behaviour relationship.

Finally, future studies may adopt a probability sampling method to improve the generalisability of the results.


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