Shopping has since long been recognized as a possible source of enjoyment. It has been argued that consumers of today devote ever more of their spare time to shopping. Within the domain of marketing, scholars have been successful in outlining consumers’ motives for engaging in shopping as a leisure-time enjoyment. Minor attention has however been devoted to explorations of how or why such shopping is seen as meaningful from the consumers’ point of view. Moreover, consumers engaged in leisure shopping have often been portrayed as one segment of consumers, sharing similar behaviours and preferences. Drawing upon a sociocultural approach, this thesis explores the plethora of meanings which leisure shopping embraces. Inspired by the phenomenological tradition, this book turns attention to individuals’ experiences and practices at a micro-level, as well as to the social and cultural worlds which contribute in defining these. The thesis thus provides thorough descriptions of how men and women of varying ages relate to leisure shopping in their everyday lives.
The thesis illustrates that leisure shopping is a multifaceted phenomenon, characterized by shifts and tensions between multiple and contrasting meanings. It illuminates a variety of ways in which these meanings are manifested in shopping practices, showing that consumers often seek pleasure from retail stores in higly rationalized ways. The thesis thus emphasizes the composite and varying character of leisure shopping experiences and also provides insights into the processes whereby different aspects of the store environment contribute in defining them. As compared with previous research, this thesis presents a somewhat different understanding of the leisure shopping phenomenon. It shows that while such shopping provides various forms of pleasure, at the same time it also involves frustration, stress and disappointments. The thesis improves our understanding of the intricate relationships that exist between consumers’ shopping experiences and practices, their meanings, and the contexts in which they evolve.