University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Understanding the customer psychology of impulse buying during COVID-19 pandemic: implications for retailers

Naeem, Muhammad (2021) Understanding the customer psychology of impulse buying during COVID-19 pandemic: implications for retailers. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 19 (3). pp. 377-393. ISSN 0959-0552

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Purpose: During COVID-19 pandemic, the use of social media enhances information exchange at a global level; therefore, customers are more aware and make backup plans to take optimal decisions. This study explores the customer psychology of impulse buying during COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: The researcher, being a social constructionist, aims at understanding social patterns in impulsive buying strategies during COVID-19 pandemic. Forty UK consumers were participated using the telephonic interview method with the purpose to maintain social distancing practices. Findings: Results revealed that vulnerable group of people, fear of illness, fear of empty shelves, fear of price increase and social inclination to buy extra for staying at home, increased panic impulsive buying behaviour among customers. Many people socially interpreted the evidence of death rate and empty shelves, which led to more disinformation, rumours and sensationalism, which increased customers' impulsive buying behaviour. Finally, risk of going outside, COVID-19 outbreak among employees of local retail stores, and health professionals' recommendations to stay at home, led to impulsive buying behaviour. Originality/value: This study has constructed a research framework of customer psychology of impulse buying based on the results of this study and fear and perceived risk theories. The study also explains how the fear of fear, risk perception and conformist tendency enhanced impulsive buying during COVID-19 pandemic. This study has discussed specific implications for retailers.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: social media, perceived risks, fear of fear, customer psychology, impulse buying, retailers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
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Depositing User: Karen Veitch
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2020 15:05
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2021 10:49

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