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The emergence of some critical incidents of economic, biological type-crises, armed conflicts, natural cataclysms can affect significantly the activity of the human society. The article aims at analyzing the behavior of the Romanian consumer in the context of COVID-19 emergence. The performed research has highlighted the particularities of the emergence of this sanitary crisis at the local economy level. Although the Romanian population’s infection degree has been more reduced as compared to the Western states, the strict prevention measures imposed by the authorities have determined a model of behavior of the consumer close to the one of other states affected by the infection with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV2. The market studies performed by specialized companies have shown that imposing home isolation conditions, due to the emergency state, has significantly reduced the social activities of the Romanian consumer, the actions being oriented mainly towards covering the basic necessities. The health of the consumers (purchase of medicines or visit to the physician), procuring food or financial activities at the banking units are the main motivations for leaving the residence. By comparison, the sports activities or the visits for supporting family members have the lowest weight. A segment of consumers, advocate of traditional commerce, has been forced to appeal to modern trade methods based on online shopping, and the specialists’ estimations provide the maintenance of the trade behavior. Companies will have to focus on understanding the consumer’s needs and to adapt their product offer and distribution system so that to reduce the new consumption limits and to facilitate the sales act. The main orientation during the crisis towards the local products can represent an opportunity for the Romanian companies, but Government support measures are necessary for the Romanian producers.
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Annals of Dunarea de JosUniversity of Galati
Fascicle I. Economics and Applied Informatics
Years XXVI – no1/2020
ISSN-L 1584-0409 ISSN-Online 2344-441X
www.eia.feaa.ugal.ro
DOI https://doi.org/10.35219/eai1584040975
Consumer Behavior in Crisis Situations. Research on the
Effects of COVID-19 in Romania
Silvius STANCIU, Riana Iren RADU, Violeta SAPIRA, Bogdan Dumitrache
BRATOVEANU, Andrei Mirel FLOREA
ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT
Article history:
Accepted April 2020
Available online May 2020
The emergence of some critical incidents of economic, biological type-crises, armed
conflicts, natural cataclysms can affect significantly the activity of the human society. The
article aims at analyzing the behavior of the Romanian consumer in the context of COVID-
19 emergence. The performed research has highlighted the particularities of the emergence
of this sanitary crisis at the local economy level. Although the Romanian population’s
infection degree has been more reduced as compared to the Western states, the strict
prevention measures imposed by the authorities have determined a model of behavior of
the consumer close to the one of other states affected by the infection with the new
coronavirus, SARS-CoV2. The market studies performed by specialized companies have
shown that imposing home isolation conditions, due to the emergency state, has
significantly reduced the social activities of the Romanian consumer, the actions being
oriented mainly towards covering the basic necessities. The health of the consumers
(purchase of medicines or visit to the physician), procuring food or financial activities at the
banking units are the main motivations for leaving the residence. By comparison, the sports
activities or the visits for supporting family members have the lowest weight. A segment of
consumers, advocate of traditional commerce, has been forced to appeal to modern trade
methods based on online shopping
, and the specialists’ estimations provide the
maintenance of the trade behavior. Companies will have to focus on understanding the
consumer’s needs and to adapt their product offer and distribution system so that to reduce
the new consumption limits and to facilitate the sales act. The main orientation during the
crisis towards the local products can repre
sent an opportunity for the Romanian
companies, but Government support measures are necessary for the Romanian producers.
The research results are a novelty, being among the first studies conducted at national level
on the complex impact of COVID-19 on the health of the population, the national economy
and consumer behaviorh start.
© 2020 EAI. All rights reserved.
JEL Classification
G18, H12, I13, D18
Keywords:
COVID-19, pandemic, crisis,
consumer, behavior, Romania
1. Introduction
The evolution of human civilization has highlighted a series of crises generated by pandemics, wars,
cataclysms or other natural phenomena, which have led to the occurrence of severe economic problems,
materialized in thorough changes of the society (Jarus, 2020). The global human history has registered
thousands of epidemics, including diseases from bubonic plague to smallpox, SARS for respiratory diseases,
Ebola, HIV or recently, SARS-CoV2.
In this context, Faust (2020) speculates on the consequences of global pandemics from social,
political and cultural perspectives on a long term, forecasting a thorough modification of the actual human
society, going to another development level.
In most critical incidents in which the society has been affected by pandemics, the demographic
reduction and major food safety problems have occurred, which have led to mass movements and political
changes. It can be mentioned the loss of supremacy of Athens in the Greek world or the decay of the Western
Roman Empire, the disappearance of slavery and development of feudalism due to bubonic plague, the
accelerated industrialization and establishment of capitalism due to the Spanish flu, the Arab Spring and the
modification of totalitarian regimes from the Middle East in the last decade of the last century (Stanciu,2015).
2. Literature review
When accounting for the main pandemics which have had affected the humanity, Jarus shows that
generalized epidemics have occurred since 5,000 years ago in China (epidemic wiped), followed by the
Bubonic Plague in Ancient Greece (430 BC) and the Roman Empire (A.D. 165-180, 250-271, 541-542), Black
Death (1346-1353) in Asia and Europe, cocoliztli epidemic in Central America (1545-1548), Great Plague of
, , , , Dunarea de Jos Univ ersity of Galati, Romania. E -mail address: floreaandreim@yahoo.com (A.M. FloreaCorresponding author)
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London (1665-1666), Marseille: (1720-1723), Russia (1770-1772), Philadelphia yellow fever (1793), Flu
pandemic (1889-1890), American polio epidemic (1916), Spanish Flu (1918-1920), Asian Flu (1957-1958),
AIDS pandemic and epidemic (1981-present day), H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic (2009-2010), West African
Ebola epidemic (2014-2016), Zika Virus epidemic (2015-present day) and Swine fever (2010-present).
COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis having already devastating impact on the world
economy. The first official information on the infections with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV2 (the epidemic
being usually called COVID-19 in media) has emerged in China, being spread subsequently to Europe,
EuroAsia and America (Mayo Clinics, 2020; Hui et al., 2020). The coronaviruses circulate mainly among
animals, but they can evolve and infect humans like in the cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
(SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) together with four coronaviruses which cause light
respiratory symptoms similar to common cold. The researches performed by Van Dorn and Yu (2019) have
proven that all coronaviruses infected in humans spread from human to human, so theoretically there is no
danger of transmission from human to domestic animals. The average incubation period is 5 6 days, varying
between 1 and 14 days, the light symptoms including fever, cough and breathing difficulties. According to
WHO (2020a), in the case of interhuman transmission, there is an interval of 4.4 7.5 days between the onset
of the symptomatology at the first person and the onset at the infected person. The mortality rate is 2.3% in
China, but considering that there are also cases with light symptoms, the affected persons not consulting a
physician, the real mortality rate has estimated values of 0.3 1%. In average, a patient can infect other 1.4
2.5 persons, much more comparative to the common flu.
The history of occurrence and dissemination of SARS-CoV2 virus among population is already a
controversial subject at international level, the US President, Trump, mentioning as potential sources
including a scientific accident from a virusology laboratory from Wuhan, or even an international action of
China of spreading the virus as a new form of economic war (The Guardian, 2020).
At present, the infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 affects over 3 million persons at
world level, but this number is continuously increasing and the information on the discovery of a medical
treatment with certain results or the development of a vaccine is being late (Corbu, 2020). Senior persons,
individuals with a deficient immunity system and who suffer from morbid disorders are mainly affected,
among which most death cases occur. The seriousness of COVID-19 symptoms can vary from light to severe.
Certain medical evidence on the occurrence of self-immunization at the cured patients is still unsure.
World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an interim guide in order to answer quickly to the need
of recommendations on the home care in safety conditions for patients suspect of infection with the new
coronavirus, which present light symptoms, and on the public health measures related to the management of
their contacts, the previous cases of infections with other coronavirus strains. The actual recommendations of
the international forum are that the laboratory confirmed cases to be isolated and cared for in a health unit.
In the cases when the isolation in a health unit of all cases is not possible, those with the highest probability of
poor results must be prioritized. The general recommended measures are strict personal hygiene, avoiding
contact with persons susceptible of infection, isolation, quarantine and most recently, wearing protection
masks in public spaces (WHO, 2020a).
The main concern of the national governments at the moment when the infection with the new
coronavirus was signaled was to reduce the pandemic impact and to avoid some critical situations in
hospitals, due to over-agglomeration with infected patients.
Although the population’s supply of food and basic necessities has remained satisfactory to date due
to stocks, the measures to stop the spread of the virus in many countries are beginning to disrupt the supply
of agro-food products to markets and consumers, both nationally and internationally. According to the
statement of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2020a), the global
economy is already facing substantial changes in the structure of demand and supply of agro-food products.
The effects of the pandemic have manifested differently from country to country depending on the
general health of the population and the evolution of disease cases, on the economic level, on the
development and modernization of the national medical system, on the measures established by decision
makers and on the scrupulousness of the population (Gopinath, 2020).
The measures to limit the spread of infection have a high impact on sectors of activity such as
tourism, retail, transport, agriculture (Stephany et Al, 2020). There is a number of strategies that traders need
to apply in this context in order to cope with the changes, whether to ensure the need for merchandise in the
food and medical sector or to rethink a survival strategy in other sectors (Roggeveen & Sethuraman, 2020).
The paper deals with aspects of changes in consumer behavior and how to approach producers and
distributors in these conditions.
The spread of the global coronavirus epidemic has had a strong impact on financial markets, with
important effects on the world economy expected as a result of measures taken to manage the medical crisis.
For Romanians, the effects of an economic crisis can be most easily felt by a depreciation of the national
currency against Euro, an evolution that is immediately felt in bank loan rates, in higher bills for telephony or
utilities, and in purchasing power for goods such as real estate (apartments, rents etc.) or cars.
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Understanding the processes used by the consumer in choosing a product is an indispensable element in the
marketing strategy of any entity (Rajogopal, 2020). In normal situations, the consumer’s decision whether or
not to choose a product is often related to its intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics (Asioli et al., 2017,
Richardson et al., 1994). In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a change in the appreciation of the
usefulness of some products, the emphasis being on providing food and less on the luxury goods and services
sector (OECD, 2020a). The introduction of unprecedented measures in the context of the spread of
coronavirus in the world leads to radical changes in the lifestyle of citizens and the business environment (Ho
et al, 2020). The challenges faced by the health system also affect the economic stability and living standards
(OECD, 2020b). The economic stability during a pandemic is directly influenced by the closure of some
sectors of activity, the reduction of the labor force and the need for large investments that burden the State
Budget (Patel, 2015). Stopping or suspending the activity of some companies, limiting the transport of goods
and closing the borders of states produce chain effects on trade, agriculture, tourism and transport (World
Bank, 2014).
Price-Smith (2009) points out that during pandemics, a series of tensions arise between the State and
citizens that increase social discrimination and call into question the State's ability to manage the situation.
In this economic, social and political instability context, the consumer is subjected to a systematic
stress that is felt as a “loss of control over his/her environment” (Botti and McGill, 2011). The stress
determines him/her either to save money in order to accumulate resources that would offer him/her
comfort, or to manifest an impulsive behavior in purchasing products that he/she considers absolutely
necessary (Durante and Laran, 2016).
The consumer’s behavior thus requires adapting company strategies and identifying new ways to
reach to the customer (OECD, 2020a). An example in this sense is the growing demand for long-life food
products at the expense of perishable food products in some countries. (FAO, 2020a). This leads to major
losses for farmers both in terms of perishability and storage, corroborated with labor shortages (FAO,
2020b). The effect of this change in the short and long term will be felt by all actors involved in the food chain,
but especially on small and medium-sized ones (FAO, 2020c).
Online commerce has developed rapidly in the last period due to the recommendations of keeping
the social distance. The trade sector has registered a significant increase in recent years in Romania, and the
presence of companies in the online environment during the pandemic is one of the main solutions for
survival (MCSI, 2019; Iacob, 2019). Although this process of implementing information and communication
technology in the business environment has grown in recent years, it is important to see how investments in
technology can lead to economic recovery (Park and Choi, 2019).
3. Methodology
The bibliographic documentation has used the specialty literature available in Clarivate Analytics,
ResearchGate and Google Scholar scientific databases. For the legislative regulations, the official
announcements of the Romanian public institutions, the regulations of the European Commission or the
recommendations of the World Health Organization were used. In order to evaluate the consumer’s behavior,
the studies of companies specialized in market research have been used. The results of the research have
been analyzed, graphically represented and interpreted. The conclusions of own research have been
compared to the ones of some specialty papers, in order to obtain results as close to the truth as possible.
4. Results of the study
World status of COVID-19 Pandemic
The updated situation of the disease, ie the cases of infections and deaths recorded worldwide at the
end of April is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Status of COVID-19 infection at world level
Source: Authors, by using WHO (2020b)
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According to WHO statistics, based on reports from national authorities, in Americas, the US ranks
first in terms of infected cases, with over 80% of all infections (1,035,353 persons, out of which over 30.000
in the last week) and more than 85% from total deaths (55,337 deceased).
In Europe, the first positions as number of infected persons are occupied by Spain (213,435), Italy
(205,463) United Kingdom (171,257), Germany (159,119) and France (128,121), countries in which more
than 60% of the European cases are registered.
The efficiency of the prevention strategies, the degree of education of the population and the quality
of the public health systems from the European countries is reflected in the number of deaths registered,
statistics in which the first positions are occupied by Italy (27,967), Spain (24,543) and France (24342). By
comparison, Germany has registered only 6,288 life losses.
A strongly ascending numerous casuistry is presented also by Russia, Turkey and Belarus, states in
which the number of cases from the above mentioned states can be exceeded, considering that a reduction of
the number of daily registered infected persons has been observed in the Western Europe.
The isolation of the population, the closing of schools, shops and borders, prohibition of reunions,
state of alert or emergency status have been the main general measures taken in Europe in order to fight
against the propagation of the new coronavirus. The strategies approached in the reduction of the impact of
the pandemic have been different at European level in what concerns the moment, the duration of application
and strictness level.
Italy, the first affected country, did not have a strict prevention strategy at the beginning of the
pandemic, delaying the decision to keep the population at home and to close the trade units / touristic sites,
due to the economic concerns related to keeping the income from the tourism sector. The population has not
granted sufficient attention to avoiding public agglomerations, to the strict measures of social distancing,
respectively of personal hygiene, the disease being initially considered a stronger flu. This approach,
completed by the lack of medical material stocks intended for the protection of the medical personnel,
respectively for taking care of the patients in hospitals, has led to a national tragedy with almost 28,000
persons deceased up to present, including the medical staff.
The situation was relatively the same in France and Spain, the only difference being the disparity
between the outbreak moments of the epidemic, delayed by few days as compared to Italy, which has allowed
a relative diminishment of the impact (reporting the number of cases, respectively deaths, to the total
population). The Spanish government has restricted the freedom of movement in the entire country, except
for exceptional reasons. The measures, the most drastic ones approved by the Spanish government in the last
decades, have led to the closure of schools at national level, as well as of non-essential commercial centers, of
sports and cultural centers.
Germany has strictly approached the prevention measures by closing the public institutions and
commercial units (except for Police, medical units, food and medicine supply points for population) and by
maintaining the population at home which, due to disciplined and aware citizens, has reduced significantly
the impact of the epidemic.
The Nordic states, including the United Kingdom (UK), have initially had an approach based on the
principle of population’s self-immunization, by which it was considered that by reaching a critical mass of
60% of the infected and cured population, the problem would be solved. No public prevention measures, i.e.
closing of schools, of public supply units, avoiding collective gatherings, had been applied. The approach was
a classical one, with good results for a common flu, but it did not function in case of Covid-19. Sweden and UK
have started to apply the measures recommended by WHO as the number of infected / deceased persons has
increased alarmingly.
Figure 2. Evolution of COVID-19 infections at world level
Source: Taken over from WHO Report (2020b)
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The evolution of the infections at world level, presented in Figure 2, taken over from WHO statistics,
shows a strong increase in the total number of infections / deaths in Europe and America, against the
diminishing of the cases registered in the Asian area.
The United States of America (USA) were taken relatively by surprise by the pandemic, although the
signals coming from China and Europe were of concern, reason for which it has been observed an alarming
increase in the number of infections, respectively of deaths. Against some controversial statements of the USA
Presidentship and the protests of the population on the preventive closure of the economic units, it is
possible to observe a record of the number of infected / deceased persons, having the potential to exceed
even the cumulative status of the other states at world level.
An interesting medical phenomenon observed at the level of the American population is the higher
incidence of death cases among the blacks and Latinos patients under the age of 65, as compared to white and
Asian patients. The preliminary researches performed by Poston, Barboza and Reyes-Velarde show that there
is the possibility of a differentiated sensibility of the population to the action of the new coronavirus SARS-
CoV2, according to racial and ethnic lines.
As compared to Europe and America, with capitalist political regimes, the Chinese state, with a
communist political orientation, has applied extraordinarily strict measures in Wuhan region where the first
infections had been officially signaled. The first official Chinese announcements were made on 12th December
2019, when it was signaled a small group of persons residing in the center of Wuhan city, China, with
pneumonia of unknown cause. Initially, the virus was related mainly to the stand owners who worked in
Huanan fish market, which sold also alive animals, being initially forwarded the official version of a zoonosis
coming from the bat, snake or pangolin. The powerful measures of complete closure of Wuhan city and
neighboring areas, the fast construction of new hospitals in the affected area, the conjugated economic effort
at national level has led to a relatively reduced number of infections / deaths, as compared to the great mass
of Chinese population. The opinion manifested in international media is that this information achieved by the
Chinese government can be affected by an incomplete evaluation, existing many corrections on the total
number of death cases collected by the official Chinese institutions. Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF)
Organization takes into consideration including the possibility of avoiding / reducing the global effects of the
pandemic under the conditions of freedom of speech of the Chinese press and transparency on the
information on the evolution of the epidemic from the communist regime (RSF, 2020).
Status in Romania
According to official information, the first case of coronavirus confirmed on the territory of Romania
was announced on 26th February 2020. As per the last Report of the Strategic Communication Group (2020),
12,732 persons were infected with the new coronavirus, 12,060 persons were in institutionalized quarantine
and 20,886 persons were in solitary confinement at home, under medical supervision on 2nd May 2020.
Among the positively confirmed persons, at the moment of the report, 4,547 were declared cured
and discharged from hospital, the number of the deaths due to COVID-19 being 755 deceased (DIGI24, 2020).
The evolution of cases infected with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV2 is presented in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Persons infected, cured and deceased due to COVID-19 epidemics in Romania
Source: The Authors, based on BRD - Groupe Société Générale data (2020)
The precarious status of the medical system has led to the emergence of some infection outbreaks at
national level (Suceava County 2, out of which 1 major Suceava Municipality; Galati 2; Dâmbovița - 1,
Alba - 1; Focsani- 1; Vaslui 1 etc.). The greatest COVID-19 infection outbreaks in Romania were the
10
hospitals, followed by the Senior Care Centers. Accordingly, the Municipal Hospitals from Suceava, Deva
(taken over by military management), Focsani Military Hospital and Vaslui County Hospital are characterized
by a large number of medical staff affected by the pandemic.
From the point of view of the measures package taken at the level of Romania, the Report of the
European Commission (EC, 2020) mentions the increase in the expenses allocated to the health sector,
expenses on the labor market, in order to reduce the impact on companies, fiscal measures, regional
measures / other categories; the declaration of the emergency state (period between 16th March 16th May);
total quarantine of the population starting with 25th March, the circulation being allowed only in limited
cases, the closing of schools, of commercial units (except for food shops, pharmacies); restriction on public
activities; prohibition of flights towards and from the red zones at European level; contravention measures
on the persons violating the Emergency Ordinances.
Among the neighboring countries, the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus up to
29.04.2020 has been confirmed in Ukraine (10,406 cases/261 deaths), Serbia (8,724 cases/176 deaths), the
Republic of Moldova (3,771 cases/116 deaths), Hungary (2,775 cases/312 deaths) and Bulgaria (1,437
cases/61 deaths). (Libertatea, 2020).
According the official information, an analysis of the persons affected by COVID-19 in Romania has
highlighted a death rate of about 5.4% in Romania (Figure 4). As compared to the other states from the
Balkans, the death rate is very high, although almost half as compared to the countries from the Western
Europe (John Hopkins University, 2020). As per the quoted report, at European level, 8 countries have
exceeded a death rate of 10%, the first place belonging to Belgium with 15.2% mortality as reported to the
number of COVID cases.
Figure 3. Death rate of the persons infected with COVID-19 in the Balkans
Source: the Authors, based on the data from John Hopkins University, (2020).
One of the explanations offered by the physicians is the lower general health level (the higher general
infection degree at national level) in Romania, as compared to the European level. The patients with pre-
existing disorders do not consult a physician in the incipient phases of the disease, especially in the poorer
areas. The critical patient management in Moldova area, where Suceava, the largest coronavirus outbreak, is
located, is not the best. The precarious technical endowment of the Romanian hospitals and the low number
of physicians, as compared to the European average, can be added to these aspects.
Changes in the behavior of the Romanian food consumer during COVID-19
For Romanians, the effects of an economic crisis are noticeable mainly by the depreciation of the
national currency against the Euro, which affects bank loan rates, higher utility bills, reduction of the
purchasing power for real estate (apartments, rents etc.) or cars. The study of Frames consulting company,
quoted by România Liberă, highlighted supply problems, potential price increases and the accentuation of the
financial blockage on the domestic markets. Tourism and transport are two other areas significantly affected,
both from the perspective of investors and consumers. The advance purchase of holiday tickets by Romanian
consumers of tourist services has led to the impossibility of reimbursing the transferred amounts, in full or as
advance payment, by tourism companies, requiring measures from the State.
According to the study conducted by the Nielsen Company, quoted by StartupCafe (2020)
publication, as the pandemic spread, there was a globally manifested change in consumer behavior. Thus,
based on the survey conducted among consumers in 100 countries, a process including 6 stages in the
evolution of consumer behavior was identified, directly due to concerns on the new coronavirus. This
evolution is common to all markets affected by the pandemic, the companies requiring to understand and
adapt to these changes, so that they can better plan future actions. The correlation of media releases and
government decisions about COVID-19 with consumers spending on items such as health products and
groceries reveals a number of recurring patterns.
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In the first stage - proactive behavior aimed at increasing immunity and general health, this being
followed by the stage of reactive health management, when purchases of protection products exploded. The
third and fourth stages are the accumulation of supplies and the preparation for living in quarantine, followed
by the real experience of a life full of restrictions. The last stage will be to return to normal, to the new
normal”.
These behavior changes are catalyzed by few vectors: the need of efficiency and quality, the
orientation of the preference towards local products and finally, by technological catalysts.
In some European countries where the pandemic has propagated later on, like Romania, the news
related to the propagation of COVID-19 led to a massive increase in purchases, in “preparation of provisions”
stage. The local information transmission reports on the infection and death cases determine and influence
the interest of consumers towards the products which they might need in their homes during the crisis. The
speed of passing from one stage to another varies according to the case’s increase rate in each country. Along
with the interdiction of travels starting with 24th March, Romania has gone quickly from the preparation
stage to the quarantine stage. China is at present the only country where the consumers have reached already
stage 6, starting to return to a normal life.
Nielsen study, quoted by StartupCafe (2020), has assessed the tendencies manifested in the sales of
large consumption goods in the first 3 weeks (between 23rd February and 15th March) as compared to the
same period of 2019. The total value increase of sales was 37.2%, and the categories with the most
underlined dynamic were personal care products (+65.6%) and food products (+42%). The sales of products
intended for home attending had increased in total with 23.4%, the tendency being accentuated especially in
the last week of the interval (9th 15th March), equivalent of the third stage of “preparation of provisions”,
when some types of products such as fish cans +29.8%, soap and personal hygiene products +46.6%,
spaghetti +37.8% had registered significant quantitative increases.
The study of Unlock Research Company quoted by Progresiv Magazine (2020) shows the way how
the adapting and modification of the behavior of consumers from Romania has been achieved due to COVID-
19 pandemic. According to the publication, the quoted study was performed in partnership by Unlock
Research and Brain 4 Strategy Companies in the period between 14th and 17th March. The sample comprised
628 active employees, women and men with ages between 25 and 45 years old, who work from home, from
large and medium sized cities from Romania, respectively the members of 4 focus groups from Bucharest, Iași
and Cluj.
The main problems the Romanian consumer has been facing in the COVID-19 crisis period are:
Financial problems, 46% of the respondents have put the material status on first place, before health
(40% of those interviewed) in the reasons of concern ranking.
The mental health (28%), spending free time (21%) and maintaining social relations (18%) are also
included among the preoccupations of those forced to change their way of living from one day to
another due to safety measures.
Regarding the method of activity development during crisis period, only 30% of the respondents
work from home. 89% claim that the way of working has changed and supplementary protection
measures are implemented at the office.
The social interactions have been limited to the maximum, 81% of the respondents have left their
home not quite often. The frequent reasons invoked for going out are presented in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Leaving the home for covering some needs
Source: the Authors, by using Progresiv (2020),
12
The quoted study has shown that, in average, all traditional destinations of consumers have lost at
least 60% of the common frequency; the social interaction from the last week was mostly limited to work.
The need of medicines and the visit to the physician represented around 70% of the reasons for leaving the
home, followed by food purchase (35%), payment of credits or other banking activities (28%), religious
reasons (23%). The support activities of some family members who do not live with the respondents or visits
to the park have represented only 22% of the motivations.
The companies will have to focus on understanding the needs and fears of the consumers and to
adapt the distribution chain and the product offer so that to remove from the consumer’s front the new
consumption barriers and to make easier the sales act. In the crisis and home isolation situation, a new
context of retail is arising online shopping. The segment of consumers who were reserved in using the
online shopping systems, due to the difficulties in using modern technologies, or the preference to choose
personally fresh food products, was forced to appeal to the this purchase method. The prognosis of Nielsen
Company is that this segment of consumers forced to use the online shopping system will not return to old
shopping habits. The companies which can convince the consumers with the help of the accelerators
identified by Nielsen study: quality and efficiency; local production; capacity to adapt to new retail
technologies, will return the fastest to the market and will build customer loyalty in the post-crisis period.
5. Conclusions
Understanding the direction, the shopping habits are going to can help managing the distribution
chain in the regions affected by COVID-19.
Although many mainly economic problems will appear, any crisis has the advantage of a real and
thorough analysis of an activity sector. Accordingly, for Romania, COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the
necessity of investments in health area; the national medical system requires urgent investments in buildings,
equipment and staff; the need to make the educational system more flexible and its preparation for
completing face-to-face activities with the online version; the capacity of some companies from SME’s group
to adapt to the critical incidents and to identify market segments; the reappraisal of the national agro-food
system (primary production agricultural, industrial processing and trade), national investments and
governmental support measures. The agro-food market is dependent on imports, and the manifestation of
some critical situations can destabilize the food supply of the population. The agricultural production is
dependent from climatic conditions and the governmental investments in a national irrigation system are
insignificant.
Acknowledgment
This work is supported by the project ANTREPRENORDOC, in the framework of Human Resources
Development Operational Programme 2014-2020, financed from the European Social Fund under the
contract number 36355/23.05.2019 HRD OP /380/6/13 SMIS Code: 123847.
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... Though several researchers have studied stockpiling behaviour from different perspectives recently owing to COVID-19, however, a few gaps exist. First, most of the studies were undertaken with reference to other countries like China (Addo et al., 2020;Zheng et al., 2021), USA (Baker et al., 2020;Loxton et al., 2020;Prentice et al., 2020b;Sailer et al., 2020), Bangladesh (Chowdhury et al., 2020), UK (Chronopoulos et al., 2020;Dickins & Schalz, 2020;Naeem, 2020;Zaidi & Hasan, 2020), Philippines (Nicomedes & Avila, 2020), Romania (Stanciu et al., 2020), Indonesia (Wijaya, 2020), Vietnam (La et al., 2020); Australia (Prentice et al., 2020a(Prentice et al., , 2020b; Germany (Kostev & Lauterbach, 2020), Brazil (Lins & Aquino, 2020), Japan (Dulam et al., 2020), multi-country (Du et al., 2020;Islam et al., 2021;Keane & Neal, 2020). The studies undertaken in the context of India are very limited (Singh & Rakshit, 2020). ...
... This warrants further research in Indian context. Second, only a few studies focused on buyers (Addo et al., 2020;Chronopoulos et al., 2020;Dickins & Schalz, 2020;Du et al., 2020;Islam et al., 2021;Keane & Neal, 2020;La et al., 2020;Lins & Aquino, 2020;Loxton et al., 2020;Naeem, 2020;Nicomedes & Avila, 2020;Prentice et al., 2020aPrentice et al., , 2020bSailer et al., 2020;Stanciu et al., 2020;Zheng et al., 2021). Further, only very few studies, focussing on buyers, investigated the phenomena based on primary survey (Islam, et al., 2021;Lins & Aquino, 2020;Prentice et al., 2020b;Sailer et al., 2020). ...
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... During the COVID-19 pandemic period the popularity of pets was increased, and many people wanted to adopt or buy a pet during this period. In this period of pandemic people have experienced many changes and restrictions that have made them change their behavior (Stanciu S. et al., 2020). With these changes, new consumers of pet food products have emerged on the market and thus behavior and certain trends from the market have changed (Ho et al., 2021). ...
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Chapter
Consumer Behavior is the study of individuals and groups, and the processes they use in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of, products and services to satisfy their needs. In today’s competitive market, understanding consumer behavior is crucial to the development and implementation of marketing strategies. This chapter deliberates on the evolution of consumer behavior of family, society, and culture across the generations of marketing scholarship. This chapter analyzes the diverse behavior of consumers across the time and geo-demographic segments and examines the causes and effects of shifts in consumer behavior within social and cultural dimensions. This chapter draws semantic map of cognitive development among consumers about how they think, feel, and act in the marketplace. Shifts in consumer economics, consumer credit behavior, and contemporary learning effects on consumers also constitute a part of the core discussion of this chapter. Evolution of industrial marketing across marketing generations has been discussed extensively in the following chapter.
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The authors examine the relative importance of extrinsic versus intrinsic cues in determining perceptions of store brand quality in an experiment using a sample of 1564 shoppers for five products. Results of the experiment suggest that consumers’ evaluations of store brand grocery items are driven primarily by the extrinsic cues that these products display rather than intrinsic characteristics. In addition, the authors found that a value for money orientation taken by retailers in the marketing of their private label lines may represent a suboptimal strategy; they recommend a quality orientation.
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Understanding the interaction of sensory and extrinsic product attributes in consumer preferences has been identified as one of the key pillars for raising the likelihood of food products’ success in the market. Over the course of the last decade there has been increased attention on research emphasizing a combination of these food-choice driving parameters. This paper discusses progress made in the field focusing on three groups of methods: (i) conjoint hedonic methods (ii) “classic” hedonic testing and (iii) alternative descriptive approaches. For each method a description of the methodology in question, its objectives, advantages, drawbacks and applications are examined. Industrial challenges and future research needs are discussed.