Changes in Retail Consumer Behaviour in South Africa during COVID-19: Permanent or Temporary


Vol 17 | Issue 2 pp. 84-92


The lockdown phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, with little or no mobility and only digital connection, has led to an understanding that sudden and universal policies of psycho-social intervention has transformed the dynamics of consumer behaviour and redefined social, economic, and individual orientations. The aim of this paper is to determine whether the transformation in consumer behaviour is for the long or short term. Our strategic approach was to review insights from research organisations and scholars that explain the volatility of the times and the shifts in consumer behaviour. The research organisations conducted empirical research globally and in South Africa, with regards to consumer sentiments in the pandemic. This paper recognised notable shifts in consumer behaviour such as a shift to value and essentials. The pandemic, economy and technology are drivers of the change. The rise of knowledgeable consumers has exposed retailers to improvisation, balancing demand and supply and leading to further digitisation of buying. The conclusion is that as time progresses consumers will move beyond survival, the use of e-commerce for shopping will increase as several digital platforms emerge and retailers will be more resilient to manage global crisis. The implication of the shift on management and retailers compelled us to recommend resilience and remodification of the business models used by retailers.

Keywords: Consumer sentiments, consumer behaviour, improvisation, technology, Coronavirus

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