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How does purchasing intangible services online influence the travel to consume these services? : a focus on a Chinese context

  • Shi, Kunbo
  • Cheng, Long
  • De Vos, Jonas
  • Yang, Yongchun
  • Cao, Wanpeng
  • Witlox, Frank
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s11116-020-10141-9
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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A considerable number of empirical studies have explored the effects of information & communication technologies (ICT) on travel in recent years. In particular, the most attention has been paid to whether the use of ICT increases or decreases trip frequency (i.e., substitution or complementarity effects). However, the subject of whether or how travel distance and mode choice are altered by ICT (i.e., modification effects) has almost been ignored. Against this background, using data collected in Beijing, China, this paper aims to explore how purchasing intangible services (e.g., eating out at restaurants, hairdressing, and visits to zoos and movie theatres) online alters the distance and mode choice of the travel to consume these services. The results suggest that due to online purchases of intangible services, people tend to travel farther to consume these services. Consequently, 25.4% of online buyers change their travel mode choices from walking or cycling (i.e., nonmotorized modes) to public transit, private cars, or taxis (i.e., motorized modes). These findings confirm the existence of modification effects of ICT on travel. Additionally, a stepwise multinomial logistic regression model and a stepwise binomial logistic regression model are used to detect the factors influencing changes in travel distance and mode choices, respectively. The regression outcomes suggest that people who have lower living costs or feel more satisfied with online purchases are more likely to increase their travel distances and to change from nonmotorized modes to motorized modes.

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