Volume 5 • Issue 1 | March 2021

Impact of epidemics and pandemics on consumption pattern: evidence from Covid-19 pandemic in rural-urban India

Rahul Kumar, Md. Shahnawaz Abdin

Abstract: Purpose – The present world is crippled with the pandemic coronavirus (Covid-19). The pandemic that originated in Wuhan city of China has sent every country in the world in an unprecedented situation that has social and economic impacts. This paper aims to explore whether epidemics and pandemics have any impact on consumption patterns among rural and urban consumers in India. Taking pandemic Covid-19 as a case study, it was explored how this pandemic impacted the consumption pattern of consumers in India; what are the similarities and/or differences between rural and urban consumers that are found in their consumption habits in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach – The required data was collected through questionnaires sent to respondents. Approximately 500 respondents were contacted through the mail to fill in the survey questionnaire. Despite the sincere efforts, a total of 175 complete survey questionnaires were filled in by respondents. The study used SPSS Statistics version 25 software for the analysis of data. Findings – It was found that epidemics and pandemics have a profound impact on the pattern of consumption in India. The study reveals that consumers resort to panic buying in the initial stages of epidemics and pandemics. It was found that consumption habits of consumers went a sea change and they were spending largely on essentials only. The study also reveals that the majority of consumers would like to continue in the same consumption habits as that of during COVID-19. The consumption pattern of urban consumers witnessed more change than the consumption pattern of rural consumers. It is due to the closure of eateries and restaurants, shopping malls, movie theatres, etc., in urban areas that forced the change in the consumption pattern of urban consumers. Research limitations/implications – The research has a limitation of using a less sample size. For the generalizations, more robust studies can be conducted with more data. Practical implications – The findings of the study will give marketers an insight for framing their policies in the wake of epidemics and pandemics. Originality/value – The research adds to the existing body of knowledge. There are plenty of studies on the behaviour of consumers. However, there are no major studies that focus on the behaviour of consumers during the outbreak of a pandemic. So, this study fills this gap in the existing body of knowledge.


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  1. Further reading

  1. World Economic Forum (2020), available at: www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Chief_Economists_Outlook_April_2020.pdf

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