Travel Activities and Motivations Survey

An analysis of the shopping segments from the TAMs Survey

Full report available in pdf format

The U.S. and Ontario Markets

May 2007

Shopping, although not usually a trip-motivator, is an important activity that 66% of travellers from the U.S. and 70% of those from Ontario engage in while at a destination.

Beyond shopping while they travel, many of these travellers also indicated that great shopping opportunities were highly important to them when choosing a destination for their pleasure or vacation trip. This would suggest that shopping opportunities should be featured in promotional materials.

The shopping segments examined and discussed in the current report include those visitors who browsed or shopped for the following:

  • Clothing segment: for clothing, shoes and jewellery
  • Books and music segment: bookstores or music stores
  • Antiques segment: antiques
  • Gourmet food segment: gourmet foods in retail stores
  • Arts and crafts segment: local arts and crafts studios or exhibitions
  • Garden centre segment: greenhouse or garden center

The segment that engages in shopping for clothes, shoes and jewellery is the largest among all the shopping segments, but participates in the fewest number of other activities while on a trip. This segment, and to some extent the books and music segment, only want to shop, eat at restaurants, visit local cafes and stroll around the city to observe its architecture and buildings. These activities are also common to a majority of the members of all shopping segments. Other activities that were popular in each of the shopping segments (participation rate of almost 50% or more) were visiting well-known historic sites and going to casinos.

  • Diversified browsing and shopping opportunities (from clothes to books and antiques to gourmet foods) within walking distance;
  • A streetscape layout with storefront displays, conducive to browsing and shopping while strolling around to observe buildings and architecture; and
  • An integration of shopping opportunities, various dining options and other points of interests within walking distance of each other in order to minimize inconvenience and to contribute to "feeling safe at the destination" (a feeling that is not always present in exclusively shopping-focused areas that look deserted after the stores are closed).

In looking at the relationship between participation in shopping and demographic variables, we see a decline in the incidence of shopping after the age of 65 for U.S. travellers. As a matter of fact, this relationship between age and activity participation holds for all U.S. travellers across all activity categories.

Interestingly, the declining relationship between age and participation in any activity observed in the U.S. travellers also holds for Ontario travellers, but the decline can be seen occurring much earlier, between 45 and 54 years of age.

As with most other travellers, shoppers travel to relieve stress and to take a break from their day-to-day activities. They also seem more interested than other travellers in creating lasting memories and in seeing or doing something new and different.

All the shopping segments from the U.S. have a better opinion of Ontario than the average U.S. traveller, with the gourmet and garden segments having the highest rating of the province. Ontario's shopping segments have a marginally better opinion of Ontario than the average Ontario traveller, except the books and music segment. The garden segment, however, has a significantly higher rating of Ontario and also believes strongly that there are many good reasons to visit the province.