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    06-Oct-2020

Pandemic alters consumer behaviour — experts

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — As social norms and economic decisions evolve in response to COVID-19, economists and sociologists say that consumers’ attitudes continue to shift, adapting to the post-pandemic reality.
 
“During a pandemic, people are uncomfortable about visiting public places, therefore when they go grocery shopping, they stock up on essentials and shelf-stable goods to regain their sense of control and feel more secure,” Economist Husam Ayesh told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday.
 
With changes in income, people in Jordan started preparing for the worst, he said, noting that "the problem is how poor households, which can only afford to buy a one day worth of food and whose livelihoods are already precarious, would change their shopping practices".
 
Shoppers are on the hunt for stockpile food with long shelf lives such as rice, grain, sugar, lentils and peas, as well as, canned powdered products to ensure a supply that is within their budget, Ayesh said.
 
Regarding the pandemic’s impact on Jordan’s various sectors, Ayesh said that businesses started engaging with their customers in novel ways, with the aim to stay connected with them.
 
He also added that COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption, noting that "there should be effective economic tools that would help citizens through the coronavirus pandemic".
 
Sociologist Hussein Khuzai told The Jordan Times that in times of uncertainty, people tend to isolate themselves and continue to experience fear, tension and anxiety.
 
"This crisis created some kind of isolation among individuals, as persons began to face their problems on their own, trying to find a solution that fits them and their families," Khuzai noted.
 
The pandemic has changed people’s priorities and purchasing habits, he said, noting that many Jordanians started to follow the saying “save money for a rainy day”.
 
Khuzai pointed out that societies most affected by the economic repercussions of the outbreak were the developing countries, including Arab nations, which were not prepared for an unpredictable future.
 
“People in Jordan are receiving conflicting messages from governmental entities, but what is really needed is social knowledge and for the government to spread awareness among citizens,” the sociologist said.
 
He added that Jordan and the world have been adversely impacted, which can be seen by the large increase in the number of people who applied for bread subsidies, pointing out that a UNICEF study had showed that 68 per cent of Jordanian workers had lost their jobs.
 
“Jordanians fear for their survival amid the pandemic, therefore vigorous efforts are needed to overcome this crisis,” he said.
 
 

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