The Optimal Shape of a Market Area
The above example considers an isotropic plain and a commercial activity having a range of 10 km. If the activity is alone (A), it will simply offer its services to an area corresponding to its range while the rest of the territory will not be serviced. The situation remains similar if a limited number of activities are present (B). The purpose of commercial activities is however to service the entire demand, if possible, as any additional demand represents a market opportunity to be captured. This requires the whole territory to be serviced by a set of evenly spaced markets (in a condition of territorial isotropy). However, solutions C and D are unacceptable since in the first case some areas are left un-serviced and in the second case ranges are overlapping. The optimal solution to this spatial coverage problem is the development of hexagonal market areas (E), which represents the optimal shape for market areas with full spatial coverage.