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Title: Big Consumer Data : understanding shopping patterns using loyalty cards
Author: Rains, Timothy John Harding
ISNI:       0000 0004 9352 8524
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Big Consumer Data offer geographic research opportunities to better understand a range of phenomena in unprecedented detail at higher levels of spatial and temporal granularities. However, these and other new forms of Big Data are different from traditional sources, coming without many of the quality controls and reference points that are associated with more traditional forms of data. Efforts must first be made to understand the sources and operation of bias, the nature and contexts of the Consumer Data, and the potential implications for wider re-use of the data. However, few research findings using new forms of data examine these issues explicitly. This thesis therefore investigates such problems in detail using 52 weeks of loyalty card data, totalling more than a billion transactions from a major UK grocery retailer. This includes the degree to which loyalty cards are swiped when conducting different forms of transactions, the level of ‘completeness’ of household’s purchases which are recorded within the data, given the highly competitive nature of the UK grocery market, and the impact that this has on representation of different regions and geodemographic types. Having established techniques to ground truth loyalty card data, the thesis proceeds into a broad examination of shopping patronage patterns including the temporal patterns, mix of transaction types, and locations that shopping is conducted in. This results in a small-area classification that further extends the data lifecycle of the loyalty card data. Collectively, these resources can be used in analysis of both retail geography and social deprivation by supplementing night-time geographies with activity-based measurement of behaviours in order to extend understanding of issues such as food hardship and convenience culture. The thesis ends with an example application examining shopping patterns in a series of previously underfunded neighbourhoods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available