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30 November 2020
Consumer Psychology and Pandemics
With more than half of the world’s population under a lockdown or stay-at-home orders, global ideography emerging around social distancing, and casualties mounting, the societal impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. Notably for consumer psychology, with all forms of social connections increasingly shifting online, and the distance between marketplace actors increasing both physically and metaphorically, typical consumption patterns have been disrupted. New and emergent forms of consumption are evolving; because many of them are likely to continue post-pandemic, their further study is warranted.
To explore the intersection between social psychology of consumers and pandemics, this special issue will address topics that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How can marketers’ promotional tools (e.g., advertising, public relations, personal selling) encourage consumers’ pro-social behaviors during and after a public health crisis?
- What role does pandemic-related social influence (consumer obedience, consumer compliance with the social norms) play in instilling or discouraging pro-social behavior?
- Which consumer attitudes are crucial to reinforcing the need to support local businesses in the pandemic and post-pandemic marketplace?
- Consumers’ panic buying, both through online and brick-and-mortar retailers, is increasingly considered harmful to consumers and retailers. How can marketers discourage such impulsive behaviors?
- What changes to consumers’ virtual social behavior has the pandemic encouraged? How will these behaviors evolve post-pandemic?
- Will increased use of aesthetically enhanced human-looking avatars modify online social interactions?
- New forms of virtual collaborative consumption are emerging, such as virtual ‘board games’ playable online. What are the roles and behaviors associated with such collaborative consumption?
- Will the pandemic change people’s attitudes and behaviors toward participating in virtual athletic and sports activities, such as virtual aerobic training and simulated rounds of golf?
- How will consumers’ attitudes and behaviors toward attending live events, such as concerts and sporting events, change post-pandemic? Were changes induced by 9/11 reflective?
- Will a pandemic change consumers’ attitudes toward participating in higher-risk entertainment activities, such as bungie jumping and sky diving?
- With increasingly online social interaction, will consumers continue their impression management efforts in the virtual marketplace? For example, which forms will conspicuous consumption and social status-related purchases take?
- How do consumers’ emotions and mortality salience (e.g., terror management) during a pandemic influence their current and future decision-making?
- Will consumers’ attitudes and behaviors toward saving and delayed gratification change post-pandemic?
- Will consumers manage their time differently post-pandemic? If so, how?
- What form of messaging will best encourage the changes to consumer behavior needed to mitigate a health crisis?
- How and why do consumers respond to misinformation transmitted over broadcast and social media (e.g., fake cures)? How do markets inspired by such misinformation form and evolve (e.g., e-commerce platforms and associated online communities centered around consumption of fake cures)?
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