Campus WU

Do you think this crisis will make the people consume in a different way?

03. April 2020

Monika Koller, Institute for Marketing and Consumer Research

Laurent F.: Do you think this crisis will make the people consume in a different way? For example, will we buy things that are made closer to our place if we can?

Answer by Monika Koller, Institute for Marketing & Consumer Research:

Thank you very much for this interesting question. Times like this might indeed have an impact on our consumption behavior. For instance, we have recently already witnessed phenomena of somewhat irrational consumer behavior, such as suddenly buying bulks of toilet paper. In the given situation, fear, uncertainty, but most of all the fact of being confronted with a completely unknown situation have an impact on our behavior. Also paired with manifold types of information, available 24/7, together with what we learn by observing the behavior of others. Whether and more importantly how the current crisis might impact consumption behavior in the long run is subject to longitudinal research. From a psychological perspective, feelings of uncertainty and risk associated with certain products can alter or even impede buying decisions. Therefore, it might likely be the case that crisis like this also impact on our perceptions of consuming per se. In consumer behavior research, we see different personality characteristics being relevant when it comes to explaining varying consumption behavior. Different segments of consumers with different value perceptions and goals. Today, we can only speculate how certain segments will behave after the crisis. We know from current research in consumer neuroscience that decisions made within a consumption context are far more emotional than we had thought decades ago. A situation as the current one is full of emotions. Certain types of products, such as locally produced ones, might help to reduce uncertainty and risk and provide feelings of security in turbulent times. Whether this might be the case for growing segments and long-lasting effects, will also depend on how the availability of products and the economic situation on the global market in general will develop.

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