Customers' social interactions and panic buying behavior: Insights from social media practices

Ozuem, Wilson and Naeem, Muhammad (2021) Customers' social interactions and panic buying behavior: Insights from social media practices. Journal of Consumer Behaviour: An International Research Review, 20 (5). pp. 1191-1203. doi:10.1002/cb.1925

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The Covid-19 pandemic led to social distancing and lockdown practices, which increased social interactions and information exchange on social media for timely decision making. This study explores how social practices and social influence generated through social media created panic buying behavior among customers. A social constructionist epistemological position was taken in order to understand the social practice of information sharing and to ask why different meanings were ascribed to Covid-19 pandemic. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods were used to understand these subjective realities. A total of 40 UK customers participated in semi-structured interviews in which they were asked about their usage of social media during the pandemic. Results revealed that social media increased the sharing of viral video evidence, such as empty shelves and quarreling in grocery stores, which increased fear and uncertainty; as a result, people shared recommendations to stay at home and buy extra for survival. Analysis revealed that social media increased awareness of stock unavailability in other parts of world, such as the USA, China, and Germany; therefore, people took proactive actions, such as stockpiling or panic buying, to avoid risks and uncertainties. The major theoretical contribution of this study is that the researcher merged social practice theory and social influence theory, and constructed a research framework which provides understanding of the social factors generated through social media platforms that increased socially influenced panic buying practices among UK customers. This study suggests that there is a need to control socially shared information and panic buying behavior and how socially shared information can influence different people in different contexts.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fear; Impatience; Nervous; Panic; Stress; Unease; Worry
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5428 Retail Trade
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Gloucestershire Business School
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Kate Greenaway
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2021 10:35
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 12:03

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