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Purchasing under threat: Changes in shopping patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Sebastian Schmidt
  • Christoph Benke
  • Christiane A Pané-Farré


The spreading of COVID-19 has led to panic buying all over the world. In this study, we applied an animal model framework to elucidate changes in human purchasing behavior under COVID-19 pandemic conditions. Purchasing behavior and potential predictors were assessed in an online questionnaire format (N = 813). Multiple regression analyses were used to evaluate the role of individually Perceived Threat of COVID-19, anxiety related personality traits (trait-anxiety, intolerance of uncertainty) and the role of media exposure in predicting quantity and frequency of purchasing behavior. High levels of Perceived Threat of COVID-19 were associated significantly with a reported reduction in purchasing frequency (b = -.24, p

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Schmidt & Christoph Benke & Christiane A Pané-Farré, 2021. "Purchasing under threat: Changes in shopping patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(6), pages 1-15, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0253231
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253231

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul T E Cusack, 2020. "Anxiety Disorders," Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research, Biomedical Research Network+, LLC, vol. 31(3), pages 24255-24260, October.
    2. Martin O'Connell & Áureo de Paula & Kate Smith, 2021. "Preparing for a pandemic: spending dynamics and panic buying during the COVID‐19 first wave," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(2), pages 249-264, June.
    3. Laato, Samuli & Islam, A.K.M. Najmul & Farooq, Ali & Dhir, Amandeep, 2020. "Unusual purchasing behavior during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic: The stimulus-organism-response approach," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
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    Cited by:

    1. Rosa Maria Dangelico & Valerio Schiaroli & Luca Fraccascia, 2022. "Is Covid‐19 changing sustainable consumer behavior? A survey of Italian consumers," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(6), pages 1477-1496, December.
    2. Veronika Harantová & Alica Kalašová & Simona Skřivánek Kubíková & Jaroslav Mazanec & Radomíra Jordová, 2022. "The Impact of Mobility on Shopping Preferences during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Evidence from the Slovak Republic," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 10(9), pages 1-27, April.
    3. Park, Inyoung & Lee, Jieon & Lee, Daeho & Lee, Changjun & Chung, Won Young, 2022. "Changes in consumption patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic: Analyzing the revenge spending motivations of different emotional groups," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).

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