Changed Buying Behavior in the COVID-19 pandemic : the influence of Price Sensitivity and Perceived Quality
Abstract: A global crisis struck the world in the shape of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020. As a result, supermarkets have experienced panic buying behaviors, empty store shelves, out of stocks, and a large increase in online sales. Supermarkets, producers, marketers, and businesses have had to adapt to consumers' changed buying behavior in food consumption. In previous research, it has been found that price and quality are two of the most influential factors in the consumer decision- process, in particular, increased price sensitivity and perceived quality of food products concerns consumers in crisis situations. The aim of this study was to research beyond panic buying behaviors, by investigating if consumer buying behavior has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding price sensitivity and perceived quality within two specific food categories, meat as well as fruits and vegetables. In addition, a moderating effect of residency in either Austria or Sweden was tested. A quantitative method has been used, in which consumers in Austria and Sweden were surveyed in an online questionnaire. 169 responses from consumers were analyzed. The result suggests that the buying behavior in regard to price sensitivity and perceived quality of meat, fruits, and vegetables has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. No moderating effect of residency was found. The findings in the study create a foundation in a unique crisis situation that has never been studied before and the exploratory nature of the study gives multiple indicators for future research.
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