A recently published study co-written by two Texas State faculty members shows Mexican national shoppers have a significant impact on San Marcos’ retail establishments.
The study indicates Mexican nationals spend approximately twice as much money per shopping trip as Texan shoppers. The article said results show cross-border shoppers’ expenditures contribute to both the local and regional economy.
The study was recently published in an article titled “Mexican national cross-border shopping: Exploration of retail tourism.” It was written by associate professor Pauline Sullivan and senior lecturer Ann DuPont, both of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Mark Bonn of Florida State University and Vertica Bhardwaj of the University of Texas were additional co-authors. The study examines the shopping motivations and economic impact of Mexican national shoppers.
The article featuring the study appears in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.
The study involved a survey component conducted from December 2008 to January 2009 in which researchers went to both the Tanger and Prime Outlets of San Marcos to appraise several groups of Mexican National shoppers.
Sullivan and DuPont, along with students in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, formed the research team that went to the outlets to conduct the surveys. Sullivan said the team surveyed shoppers in both English and Spanish.
“Language is very important,” Sullivan said. “I think the ability to have a bilingual sales force is important. I think people have to recognize the importance of retail trade to the economy in terms of jobs it creates.”
The study said the fact most Mexican cross-border shoppers responded to a survey in Spanish emphasizes the importance of employing bilingual retail associates.
Mark Saldana, assistant manager at the Pac-Sun store at the San Marcos outlets, said it is helpful to have bilingual retail associates because of the increase of cross-border shoppers.
“Usually if we miss a sale due to an international (shopper), it’s because of communication,” Saldana said.
Additionally, the study determined an open border is important for allowing the income generated from cross-border shoppers to continue. This income contributes to the life of U.S. retail and its communities.
“If you have money and want to come shop, then come shop,” said Daniel de los Santos, criminal justice sophomore and manager at the Affliction outlet.
Researchers compiled a table indicating the things Mexican national shoppers most enjoyed about the outlets. Shopping came in first, with eating and experience ranking as significant factors.
The study said price is a notable factor influencing cross-border shopping, with other elements such as clothing variety weighing in heavily.
Saldana said customers have told him the prices of clothing are much higher in Mexico.
Saldana said he has seen people visiting from Australia at the Levi’s outlet because the jean brand
is considered an import product. He said a pair of Levi’s jeans average about $200 in Australia.
Sullivan said there is a new study currently in discussion that will look to replicate the first, but more deeply examine the social and psychological factors behind shopping motivations.