The impact of a pandemic on brand preference in purchasing decisions of food and hygiene products: a COVID-19 perspective
Abstract: The uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 pandemic has surpassed all the expectations. Nations closed their boarders; the economy is going into recession and the whole world is suffering from the emerged pandemic. Although the effects of the pandemic economically and socially can be measured and estimated, thought the changes in the buying behaviour of customers is not easily predicted. As hygiene products demand went up and supply went down causing panic hoarding by some of the consumers. It became interesting for the researchers to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the brand preferences in purchasing decisions for hygiene and food products. As a result, the main purpose of this master thesis is to broaden the scope of consumer behaviour as a field by adding a complementary empirical perspective to the current literature on how a pandemic affects brand preference in purchasing behaviour, since it is a topic lacking in empirical research. Furthermore, based on the branding theory and the consumer behaviour theory, the PMO model was built, which provided the bases for collecting empirical data needed for this dissertation. This dissertation was conducted using a qualitative approach with an abductive reasoning. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with Swedish customers. The findings indicated aspects of price, quality, risk and loyalty became tied to the pandemic in the context of the health aspect of the COVID-19 virus. While there were not much indicating large shifts in preferred brands, there were large changes in health consciousness and qualitative demands on brands due to the pandemic affecting brand preference.
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