How COVID-19 is reshaping consumer behaviour

Published: 20 April 2020 at 16:27

A woman in a supermarket wearing a mask

Experts to take part in free online event organised by Anglia Ruskin University

Major figures from the worlds of retail, marketing and behavioural science will join academics this week to discuss consumer behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as offer insights into how shopping habits may change once the pandemic is over.

Starting tomorrow, the Festival of Consumer Sciences will provide an opportunity for researchers, the retail industry, and anyone interested in consumer behaviour, to connect and attempt to make sense of a world where physical shopping opportunities are limited to the local supermarket. 

The four-day Festival of Consumer Sciences has been organised by Dr Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, Reader in Consumer Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and the author of Consumption Matters, and the series of talks will be broadcast online, free of charge.

Among the speakers are Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI UK & Ireland, who will discuss the latest global trends and predictions in light of COVID-19, while Jordan Buck, Consultant at Ogilvy Consulting’s Behavioural Science Practice, will focus on what marketing can learn from applied behavioural science.

Michael Solomon, Professor of Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, will present “Postmodern Shoppers, Post-Coronavirus: Consumer Behaviour in The New Normal” and Nick King, Insight Director at Auto Trader, will explain how to make the most of the “interested consumer”.

Dr Jansson-Boyd specialises in researching the important role that touch plays in consumption.  At a time when we’re being told to avoid touching everything, she will discuss how this vital marketing tool is being affected by COVID-19 and how the current crisis may reshape how people feel about touch more broadly. 

Dr Jansson-Boyd, Reader in Consumer Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“The Festival of Consumer Sciences has been set up as a way for academics and the retail industry to connect at a time that’s seeing dramatic changes to consumption. 

“Due to COVID-19 we don't know exactly what future shopping patterns will look like and it is possible that many of the changes taking place now may turn out to be permanent.  Now more than ever it is important to bring science and business together to help to properly understand consumer behaviour.”

The full programme and links to the free talks are available at the Festival of Consumer Sciences website.