Changes in consumption patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic

Analyzing the revenge spending motivations of different emotional groups

revenge spending
shopping behavior
emotions during a pandemic
data science
structural equation model
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 65, 102874.

Inyoung Park

Jieun Lee

Daeho Lee

Changjun Lee

Won Young Chung*



People tend to alleviate their negative emotions by shopping. Considering the change of shopping behavior during COVID-19 outbreak, negative emotions are the key contributors to this change. In this light, this study aims to investigate how negative emotions caused by COVID-19 affect shopping behaviors. This study classified consumer groups based on their perceived negative emotions (i.e., anxiety, fear, depression, anger, and boredom). By clustering analysis, four groups (i.e., group of anxiety, depression, anger, and indifference) were derived. Then, this study examined how each of the emotional groups differently affect the shopping-related motivations (i.e., mood alleviation, shopping enjoyment, socialization seeking, and self-control seeking) and shopping behaviors (i.e., shopping for high-priced goods and buying of bulk goods). Results revealed all emotional groups affect socialization seeking and influence high-priced shopping intentions. However, depression and indifference are positively associated with socialization seeking and influence bulk shopping intentions. In addition, other emotions except for anxiety affect mood alleviation and influence high-priced shopping intentions. Finally, anger is associated with self-control seeking and affects bulk shopping intentions. This study enables practitioners and researchers to better understand how people control negative emotions by shopping in pandemic situations such as the current COVID-19 crisis.