The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer purchasing behaviour: implications for the retail sector

Bhavini Desai, Sylvie Studente, Filia Garivaldis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter offers a preliminary investigation into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer purchasing behaviour within the grocery retail industry and supports evidence that since the pandemic began at the end of 2019, there have been changes in the demands and behaviours of consumers (Donthu & Gustafsson, 2020). Previous research has reported that the pandemic resulted in retail consumers spending less and saving more (Jorda, Singh, & Taylor, 2020), as well as panic buying (Nazir, 2021), both of which initially contributed to the limited availability of goods. This preliminary study reports upon survey data collected from retail consumers and answers the question ‘What were the changes in consumer behaviour in the grocery sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?’ Findings reveal that an increase in online shopping occurred more distinctly during the first of the UK’s lockdowns, which waned over time. Findings also reveal a lower shopping frequency, but higher shopping spends during lockdown, and that social distancing and discipline were key drivers of this behaviour change. Findings also reveal an intention to maintain a combination of new and old shopping behaviours and habits after lockdown, giving rise to the continuing importance of meeting consumers’ grocery needs online as well as in-store. This chapter further discusses the implications arising from the reported findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Strategic Management in the Service Industry
Subtitle of host publicationA Perspective of the New Era
EditorsSaloomeh Tabari, Wei Chen
Place of PublicationBingley UK
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781801170819, 9781801170833
ISBN (Print)9781801170826
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • consumer purchasing behaviour
  • retail industry
  • Covid-19
  • marketing
  • online demand
  • e-commerce

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