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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

Research project: Supermarket Environment Design for Elderly Consumers

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Dr Yuanyuan Yin is investigating the elderly's shopping experience in major supermarkets in the UK and in China. She works with large corporations such as Tesco and Sainsbury to determine the problem areas for the elderly shopper, and works on improving the design of the shopping environment. Visit the project website.

The population of the world is ageing. It has been forecast that the number of people classified as old in the world could rise over 2 billion in 2050. In particular, as one of the largest ageing communities in the world, China will have over 440 million people aged over 60 at the same time, 34% of the UK population will be aged over 60 in 2050.

Due to such a substantial demographic shift, many researchers have highlighted the importance of older shoppers to retailers and concentrated on improving ageing people’s shopping experience from multiple dimensions. Within the globalized retail industry, China is regarded as the biggest and most profitable overseas market by major international firms such as Tesco (UK), Wal-Mart (US), Carrefour (France) and Metor AG (Germany).

Among these retailers, Tesco has 105 stores in China and is planning to develop more over the next five years so as to increase its market share and reach in China. The other UK retail giant Sainsbury’s is also keen to move into the Chinese market.

However, due to the fact that cultural orientation plays a significant role in shaping consumers’ shopping behaviour, consumers in China and the UK may have different requirements and needs within a supermarket service environment. Thus, it is important to explore elderly consumers’ shopping experience across the two cultures to discover if it is possible to develop universal design solutions to improve elderly consumers’ shopping experience for both the Chinese and the UK market.

This project aims to understand the way in which supermarket environment design can improve elderly consumers shopping experience in the UK and China.

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