Outshopping, also known as market gravitation or market leakage, is the practice of going outside the local community to buy goods. Outshopping is a phenomenon that particularly affects retailers in small, rural communities. Reasons given for such behavior include better prices, more stores and broader product depth. This paper looks at the shopping habits of two distinctly different groups of buyers in a rural county in western Maryland to determine the extent and reasons for outshopping behavior. The study found that prices and convenience were the most important reasons community residents had for buying certain products. However, local business owners were more influenced by their desire to purchase from local merchants when they made personal buying decisions. This suggests that relationships among shoppers and shop owners, built and sustained in a community, influence consumer buying behavior.



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