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Is Covid-19 changing sustainable consumer behavior? A survey of Italian consumers (01a Articolo in rivista)

Dangelico R. M., Schiaroli V., Fraccascia L.

Since the beginning of 2020, the world has been hit by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. To hamper its spread, policymakers of many countries have put in place strong countermeasures, including lockdowns, that have led to significant changes in people's lifestyles and daily routines. This article aims at assessing the changes caused by Covid-19 in sustainable consumer behavior under multiple perspectives, contributing to advance knowledge at the intersection between consumer dynamics and sustainable consumer behavior literature. A survey was conducted on 1.535 Italian consumers between December 2020 and February 2021. Respondents were asked to assess the extent to which their consumption behavior—purchase frequency, willingness to pay a premium price, sense of moral duty to purchase, social influence to purchase—related to several categories of sustainable products changed due to the pandemic, as well as the extent to which the pandemic impacted on many other aspects, including their environmental awareness, concern, and habits. Results show that Covid-19 generated relevant changes. Consumers have increased their purchase frequency and willingness to pay for sustainable products, show growing attention to environmental issues, and behave more sustainably. Further, the extent of change is strongly affected by socio-demographic variables, such as gender, age, income, and education. For instance, women reported a higher shift towards sustainable consumption and behavior than men. Understanding these changes is important to guide marketers and policymakers to respond promptly and effectively to them and to leverage on them to foster a transition towards a more sustainable society.
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