Consumer behavior; COVID-19; Fear; Pandemic; and Risk


This paper focuses on the current topic of consumer behavior changes influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the research was to explore how the factor of fear affected consumers and analyze their response to shopping habits. Even though there is some evidence on how the consumers changed their behavior during the pandemic, there is still a lack of comprehensive information based on opinions and experiences of consumers themselves. Design/methodology of the research was based on a survey conducted on a sample of 252 consumers in Slovak republic providing an original source of information for this unique research. Findings in the study map the individual changes in consumer behavior that occurred during the pandemic with special focus on changes related to panic buying. Up to 82% of consumers reported an increase in amount of goods they bought in 2020, however, this form of panic buying significantly decreased in later years of the pandemic. Results show that male consumers were less likely to experience panic buying, however, they men expressed concerns about the negative impacts of the pandemic on the state's economy to a greater extent than women. The majority of consumers were concerned by health threats and related risks, but it was discovered that they feared more for others than themselves which resulted in an increased tendency to prefer unaccompanied shopping. The implications of this research are vast. Its practical implications provide guidelines for businesses that need to adjust their strategies according to the new reality in the post-pandemic era. Findings can also provide a foundation for further risk management measures that companies need to consider should a similar situation arise again in the future to be better prepared and to design a flexible response.

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