Volume 4 (2016-2017) Issue 3 Pages 585-600
Although online purchases still make up only a small share of individuals’ purchases, they increasingly represent an alternative to in-store purchases. This alternative seems even more valuable in sparsely populated areas with poorer access to shops. Online purchases may smooth out spatial constraints on access to tangible goods. The efficiency hypothesis postulates that people with low accessibility tend to buy more online. This study examines this hypothesis. The aim is to check whether online purchasing is more developed in suburban areas and whether online purchasing practices for the inhabitants of such areas are a way of overcoming their poor access to shops. Our results show quite different patterns between suburban and urban households. The efficiency hypothesis is partially validated.