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Consumer Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic


The onset of Covid-19 in December 2019 was unprecedented since its spread and impact were not imminent at the time. By March 2021, the world had to shut down; movement restrictions were introduced. Social distance, both partial and total lockdowns mandates were also implemented changing human behavior patterns (Mehta, et al., 2020). Today, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed human behaviors such as mobility, consumption, entertainment, and the need for healthcare among others. Even after some governments such as the USA, UK, Canada, China, and South Africa have relaxed the strict measure that had been put in place to combat the pandemic, life has not yet gone back to normal. The impact of Covid-19 has greatly affected consumer behavior in a way that no one predicted.

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It can be noted that consumer behavior changes in times of contagion, immobility, and economic uncertainty, which then introduces new purchasing patterns in all spheres of life. These drastic shifts have implications for produces, manufacturers, retailers, and delivery companies because they are sustained by the dynamics of the consumers (Stanciu, et al., 2020). In this research paper, the goal is to survey the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer behavior. The questions asked were based on the respondents’ recent shopping habits to find out the extent to which the pandemic affects ones purchasing habits. Data was collected, analyzed and the findings were presented in this paper.

Overall results

A total of 24 respondents took part in the survey. They were randomly selected to give credibility to the information collected. The survey had 10 questions, which were answered by everyone. It was noted that most of the respondents were still afraid of going out of the house to go and shop because they are afraid of dying. The death rate from the Coronavirus cases has increased over the period the virus has been spreading.

The results of the survey revealed that most of the respondents were young people between the age of 18 to 25 years, which meant that most of those that seek services online are young and understand more about buying online. In my opinion, the results of the study did not reveal what I had expected. The young people have a character of persisting and can resist change easily. I had expected to find out that the respondents’ shopping habits would have been changed when the coronavirus is managed. This was not the case as 50% of the responses stated that there would be no change in their consumer behavior, while another 25% also stated that it would either change their habits or not, which means that more than 50% believed that there will be no change in their buying habits.

I was also surprised that most of the respondents were willing to go and have a meal from eateries rather than get food at home. This was not expected as I believed most of the respondents would avoid such areas as they gather many people, and this could be a potential place for spreading the virus. Consumer habits had to change because there was a shift from physical purchasing to online buying of almost everything that an individual can need from clothes, food, electronics, and stationaries among others.

Specific Analysis

For the demographics of the respondents that took part in the study, the results indicated that more than 62% of the respondents were between 18 and 25 years of age; 11% were between 36 and 55 and a similar number was 55 to 65 years of age. About 11% of the respondents preferred not to state their age.

The respondents were asked whether they would be stocking during the second pandemic and 25% of the respondents would not be restocking during the pandemic. Of those that said that they would restock, the majority indicated that they would be restocking toiletry, food, disinfectant, pet care supplies, and video streaming services (Netflix, Hulu). This shows that people are tired of the stringent measures that were put to prevent the various from spreading. In addition, for those that were going to restock, their priority had changed as most of them would go for live streaming video services as opposed to the usual cable television (Seetharaman, 2020). This also indicates a change in consumer behavior as the choice of entertainment has shifted to online service providers.

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Disinfectant has become part of any household’s shopping list and the majority of the respondents, about 75% were in agreement that they spend more on disinfectant than before the pandemic. 25% indicated that their expenditure on disinfectants has not changed. The disinfectant was not a priority in people’s shopping lists before but because of Covid-19, people have to buy it, which also shows that consumers care more about their safety and that has driven them to buy products that were not a priority before the pandemic.

The respondents were asked if they believe the shopping habits will drastically change when the pandemic comes to an end and the results suggested that they would be a slight change in people’s purchasing habits. The results indicate that 50% believe that there will be no change in the shopping habits whereas 25% believed that there be a change in shopping habits and 25% also noted that there will be a change or no change in consumers’ buying patterns.

It was interesting to note the results from the question on whether online advertisements impact people’s shopping behavior as 75% of the respondent did not believe that online adverts affected their shopping culture. On the other hand, 25% of the respondents believed that these adverts influenced their shopping culture. This is an aspect that I expected to be positive and push towards consumer behavior because of online advertising; online advertising use people’s online search patterns to position their adverts and convince someone to buy their products (Sheth, 2020). It is because of this aspect that I believed that a greater number should have stated that online advertising influenced their purchasing behavior.

The results also indicated that people’s perceptions towards going out for food and other supplies had changed though most of the respondents still believed in going out of the house to do their shopping. This is because 50% of the respondents support (38% somewhat support and 12% strongly support the idea); only 12 opposed the idea. In addition, as a follow-up to the previous question, the respondents were further asked if they would find it safe to do their shopping in a mall. The results indicated a split result where 50% believe it would be safe and an equal number believed it would not be safe to go to a shopping mall during the pandemic. These two questions captured different opinions on somehow questions with related implications, going out of the house. In addition, those that could go shopping during the pandemic were asked about how they would prefer to carry out their shopping. More than 76% would go shopping depending on what they want to buy while 12% would prefer shopping online and an equal number preferred shopping from both the stores and online.

Most people’s perception of buying clothes and on the question of whether the gyms should be re-opened. The responses indicate that 62% of the respondents believe that they should not open while 38% believe they should open so that they can go buy outfits. This is because trying on clothes may not be safe because it has been touched by other people. Though I find this interesting because at restaurants people eat and drink from utensils, cups, and plates that are constantly being touched by other different people and they are not sure of the hygiene. Though maybe this is just my point of view due to my previous experience with being aware of how clean these outlets are and this kept most of the respondents worried.

Finally, the option of going to dine out during the pandemic has not been significantly affected as 75% of the respondents indicate that they would be willing to go out for eating during the pandemic. Contrary, 24% believed that they would go out only if they believe that it is safe. This has affected the hotel and food industry during this pandemic period as most of the hotels were closed and those that were operating on a take-away basis had few clients.


In conclusion, from the data collected and analyzed it can be concluded that the pandemic has affected consumers’ purchasing behaviors. People’s priorities shifted as the day-to-day activities also drastically changed. Though the results indicated that to a smaller extent the pandemic had changed individuals’ buying patterns. This is contrary to the many studies that have been conducted on this subject. According to Mehta et al., (2020), explain that during the pandemic people have been spending less money on items such as clothes, jewelry, shoes, electronic gadgets, and games. They further note that across the world, Covid-19 has disrupted the normal business operations as most of the malls, hotels, jewelry shops, beaches, and air travel was affected. This then means that consumers’ priorities had to change thereby affecting their buying behavior.

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The results though indicated that since the pandemic started, shopping behaviors have dramatically changed for everyone. It is therefore important to note that the effect of the pandemic on people’s spending choices will remain the same for some time. This is because life choices have changed, some people have decided to have their offices at their homes, which will affect their buying patterns. In addition, many people have also been rendered jobless and therefore do not have the money to spend, which also affects their consumer behavior (Donthu & Gustafsson, 2020). This research study has been very informative and educative as I have learned more about consumer behavior and the implication of restriction on human beings. Though I believe that our stores will be packed and busy again after the pandemic; consumers are ready to live their old lives again.


Donthu, N., & Gustafsson, A. (2020). Effects of COVID-19 on business and research. Journal of business research, 117, 284. Web.

Mehta, S., Saxena, T., & Purohit, N. (2020). The New Consumer Behaviour Paradigm amid COVID-19: Permanent or Transient?. Journal of Health Management, 22(2), 291-301. Web.

Seetharaman, P. (2020). Business models shifts: Impact of Covid-19. International Journal of Information Management, 54, 102173. Web.

Sheth, J. (2020). Impact of Covid-19 on Consumer Behavior: Will the Old Habits Return or Die?. Journal of Business Research. 117, 280-283. Web.

Stanciu, S., Radu, R. I., Sapira, V., Bratoveanu, B. D., & Florea, A. M. (2020). Consumer Behavior in Crisis Situations. Research on the Effects of COVID-19 in Romania. Annals of the University Dunarea de Jos of Galati: Fascicle: I, Economics & Applied Informatics, 26(1).

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