Toward Preservation of the Traditional Marketplace: A Preference Study of Traditional and Modern Shopping Environments in Bangkok, Thailand

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The objectives of this dissertation are to: 1) identify the aspects of shopping environments that are important to people; and 2) identify strategies to maintain the cultural relevance and viability of traditional marketplaces in the new global economy. This dissertation uses a Content Identifying Methodology (CIM) to determine preferences of general Thai shoppers for different shopping environments in Bangkok, Thailand. The procedures include preference rating, scene description, and respondents' background surveys. Data were analyzed using factor analysis, content analysis, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), canonical correlation analysis, and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). In addition, interviews with designers and developers of shopping environments are used to establish implications for future development, design, and renovation of shopping environments.

Three major factors, environmental, shopping, and background, were found to influence preferences for shopping environments. The environmental factors include the perceived environmental types; spacious and well-organized spatial configurations; physical content, such as fresh products, vegetation, and sitting areas; and environmental conditions, such as maintenance level, crowdedness, and cool temperatures. Shopping factors include recreational and value shopping. Respondent's background factors include shopping behaviors and socio-economic backgrounds, such as age and household economic status.

Shoppers prefer certain shopping environments based on their shopping purpose: recreational versus value shopping. Recreational shopping appeals to young, single, and big group shoppers at modern malls, which provide the most opportunities for exploring, recreating, and socializing. Value shopping appeals to older, married, and large family shoppers at traditional markets that offer the high quality fresh products at low price.

The dissertation's findings are consistent with previous studies and support theoretical explanations in the environmental perception and assessment field. Coherence, complexity, legibility, and mystery, and the concept of affordance influence preference; and are useful in making recommendations. The results indicate that, by identifying the preferences and perceptions of Thai shoppers, it is possible to preserve important aspects of the traditional Thai marketplace. This is achieved by incorporating aspects of traditional Thai markets into new shopping environments; and enhancing existing traditional markets to give them broader appeal and make them more viable in today's economy.



Traditional Environment, Perception, Preference, Preservation, Traditional Marketplace, Shopping Environment, Vernacular Environment, Thailand, Bangkok