Social norm compliance and involvement with Covid-19
Demographic differences in developing and developed countries
Keywords:Covid-19; pandemic; demographics; involvement; social norms; consumer decisions; social norm compliance
Consumer decisions are influenced by various variables, including compliance with society’s social norms and by involvement by consumers with the issue under consideration. Both variables have influenced consumers’ actions during previous pandemics. Therefore, this study investigated involvement with the Covid-19 pandemic, together with social norm compliance (SNC), their mutual influence, and how demographic characteristics and country of residence influenced these three issues. The methodology involved a quantitative descriptive cross-sectional survey, with a quota sample of 1096 responses, based on age, gender, education, habitation, and income. The research was conducted with populations representing the consumers who patronize major retailers in a developed country (Germany) and a developing one (South Africa). Data was collected via questionnaires e-mailed to commercial consumer panels covering both countries. The findings showed that involvement is influenced by gender, age, education, habitation, and country of residence, but that SNC is not influenced by demographics but does differ according to country. Further findings were that involvement with Covid-19 strongly influences SNC and, similarly, SNC also strongly influences involvement with Covid-19. Furthermore demographics, excluding habitation, also influence these variables. However, the relationship between the involvement and SNC variables does not differ between the two countries. This study has provided a better understanding of consumers’ involvement with Covid-19 and SNC as components of consumer behavior, which is important since, during the Covid-19 pandemic, retailers have been instrumental in implementing health protocols. Therefore, understanding the relationship between involvement with Covid-19 and SNC, and how they are influenced by consumer demographics, is important.
Aamir, F.B., Ahmad Zaidi, S.M., Abbas, S., Aamir, S.R., Ahmad Zaidi, S.N., Lal, K.K., & Fatima, S.S. (2021). Non-compliance to social distancing during COVID-19 pandemic: A comparative cross-sectional study between the developed and developing countries. Journal of Public Health Research. https://doi.org/10.4081/jphr.2021.2614.
Abe, I., & Mugobo, V. (2021). The post-COVID-19 retail landscape: Perceptions of Small and Medium Size Retailers in South Africa. Harvard Deusto Business Research, X(2), 337-345. https://doi.org/10.48132/hdbr.364
Ahmed, R.R., Streimikiene, D., Rolle, J., & Duc, P.A. (2020). The Covid-19 pandemic and the antecedents for the Impulse Buying Behavior of US Citizens. Journal of Competitiveness, 12(3), 5-27. https://doi.org/10.7441/joc.2020.03.01
Aschwanden, D., Strickhouser, J.E., Sesker, A.A., Lee, H.J., Luchetti, M., Stephan, Y., Sutin, A.R., & Terracciano, A. (2020). Psychological and Behavioral responses to Coronavirus Disease 2019: the Role of Personality. European Journal of Personality, 35(1), 51-66. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2281
Backhaus, K., Erichson, B., Gensler, S., Weiber, R., & Weiber, T. (2021). Multivariate Analysis: An Application-Oriented Introduction. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.
Bicchieri, C., Dimant, E., Gächter, S., & Nosenzo, D. (2022). Social Proximity and the Erosion of Norm Compliance. Games and Economic Behavior, 132, 59-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geb.2021.11.012
Bizer, G.Y., Magin, R.A., & Levine, M.R. (2014). The Social-Norm Espousal Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 58, 106-111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.10.014
Blackwell, R.D., Miniard, P.W., & Engel, J.F. (2006). Consumer Behavior (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western
Bless, C., Higson-Smith, C., & Sithole, S.L. (2013). Fundamentals of Social Research Methods: An African Perspective (5th ed.). Cape Town: Juta.
Caplanova, A., Sivak, R., & Szakadatova, E. (2021). Institutional Trust and Compliance with Measures to Fight COVID-19. International Advances in Economic Research, 27, 47-60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11294-021-09818-3
Chang, E.H., Milkman, K.L., Chugh, D., & Akinola, M. (2019). Diversity Thresholds: How Social Norms, Visibility, and Scrutiny Relate to Group Composition. The Academy of Management Journal, 62(1), 144-171. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2017.0440
Chronis, M. (2012, December 18). Dissecting the LSM 7-10 market. The Media Online. Retrieved from https://themediaonline.co.za/2012/12/dissecting-the-lsm-7-10-market/
Corbishley, K.M., Dobbelstein, T., & Mason, R.B. (2022). COVID-19 involvement, shopping motives and buying behaviour: a German/South African comparison. Expert Journal of Marketing, 10(1), 43-61. https://hdl.handle.net/10321/3957
Destatis. (2019). Laufende Wirtschaftsrechnung. Retrieved from https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Einkommen-Konsum-Lebensbedingungen/Konsumausgaben-Lebenshaltungskosten/Tabellen/privater-konsum-d-lwr.html;jsessionid=7DCB821D697983B2180FF4238FCB0078.internet742
Di Crosta, A., Ceccato, I., Marchetti, D., La Malva, P., Maiella, R. & Cannito, L. (2021). Psychological factors and consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE, 16(8), 1-23. e0256095. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256095
Dobbelstein, T., & Naidoo, V. (2020). German and South African millennials’ reactions to fear and stress when purchasing products during COVID-19. Retail and Marketing Review, 16(3), 66-82. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10520/ejc-irmr1-v16-n3-a7
Docrat, S.H. (2007). An investigation of shopping centres as situational influences on consumer behavior in the greater Durban area. [M. Com: Management dissertation, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa]. Retrieved from https://ukzn-dspace.ukzn.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10413/1483/Docrat_Suleman_Hoosen_2007.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Garbe, L., Rau, R., & Toppe, T. (2020). Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling. PLoS ONE, 15(6), e0234232. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234232
George, K. (2010). Benefits and Concerns of Panels. RMS Research & Marketing Strategies Inc. Retrieved from https://rmsresults.com/2010/09/29/benefits-and-concerns-of-panels-market-research-agency-in-syracuse-ny/
Hair, J.F. Jr., Babin, B., Money, A.H., & Smouel, P. (2003). Essentials of Business Research Methods. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Harahap, D.A., Ferine, K.F., Irawati, N., Nurlaila, & Amanah, D. (2021). Emerging Advances in E-Commerce: Panic and Impulse Buying During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy, 12(3), 224-230. https://doi.org/10.31838/srp.2021.3.37
Houston, M.J. & Rothschild, M.L. (1978). Conceptual and methodological perspectives on involvement. In S. Jain (Ed.). Research Frontiers in Marketing: Dialogues and Directions, (pp. 184-187). Chicago: American Marketing Association.
Ivkovic, N. (2021, February 19). Beyond the pandemic – a new era of consumer behavior. [Paper presentation]. 65th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development – Online Conference, 6-17.
KANTAR TNS. (2019). The Establishment Survey, March release. The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa. Retrieved from https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/695.618.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/ES_Mar19-release_26032019-v4.pdf
Katranci, M. (2015). Book reading motivation scale: Reliability and validity study. Educational Research and Reviews, 10(3), 300-307. https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2014.1998
Kaur, R. & Sharma, B. 2020. Impulsive behavior for essential goods: COVID-19. Journal of Critical Reviews, 7(8), 3126-3135. Retrieved from http://www.jcreview.com/fulltext/197-1595738107.pdf
Kittel, B., Kalleitner, F., & Schiestl, D.W. (2021). Peers for the fearless: Social norms facilitate preventive behaviour when individuals perceive low COVID-19 health risks. PLoS One, 16(12), e0260171. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0260171
Koch, J., Frommeyer, B., & Schewe, G. (2020). Online Shopping Motives during the COVID-19 Pandemic – Lessons from the Crisis. Sustainability, 12(24), 10247, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410247
Langschmidt, P. (2017). New SEM socio-economic segmentation tool explained. Strategic Marketing, 2, 30-34. Retrieved from https://www.prc.za.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/New-SEM-socio-economic-segmentation-tool-explained.pdf
Laurent, G. & Kapferer, J-N. (1985). Measuring Consumer Involvement Profiles. Journal of Marketing Research, 22(1), 41-53. https://doi.org/10.2307/3151549.
Living Standards Measure. (2017). South African Audience Research Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.saarf.co.za/lsm/lsms.asp
Mason, A., Narcum, J., & Mason, K. (2020). Changes in consumer decision-making resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 19(4), 299-321. https://doi.org/10.1362/147539220X16003502334181
Mason, R.B. (2004). An investigation into how marketers cope with an environment of high complexity and turbulence, with special reference to the South African environment. [PhD (Management) thesis, Rhodes University, South Africa]. Retrieved from http://vital.seals.ac.za:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/vital:752?site_name=GlobalView
Melnyk, V., Carrillat, F.A., & Melnyk, V. (2021). The Influence of Social Norms on Consumer Behavior: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Marketing, 86(3), 98-120. https://doi.org/10.1177/00222429211029199.
Mittal, B. (1995). A comparative analysis of four scales of consumer involvement. Psychology & Marketing, 12(7), 663-682. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.4220120708.
Muller, G. (2017, May 09). Demystifying SEM with me and Bobby McGee. The Media Online. Retrieved from https://themediaonline.co.za/2017/05/sem-me-and-bobby-mcgee/
Naeem, M. (2021). Understanding the customer psychology of impulse buying during COVID-19 pandemic: implications for retailers. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 49(3), 377-393. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-08-2020-0317
Omar,N.A., Nazri, M.A., Ali, M.H., & Alam, S.S. (2021). The panic buying behavior of consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic: Examining the influences of uncertainty, perceptions of severity, perceptions of scarcity, and anxiety. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 62, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2021.102600
Pallant, J. (2007). SPSS Survival Manual (3rd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Puccinelli, N.M., Goodstein, R.C., Grewal, D., Price, R. Raghubir, P., & Stewart, D. (2009). Customer Experience Management in Retailing: Understanding the Buying Process. Journal of Retailing, 85(1), 15-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretai.2008.11.003
Qin, X., Niu, C., Huang, Z. L., & Xu, M. Y. (2011). The familiarity of influenza A (H1N1), perception of vaccine safety, vaccination behaviour and their influential mechanism. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 43, 684–695. https://doi.org/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2011.00684.
Reidon, B. (2018, February 22). Getting to know the ES SEMs 8-10 (Part 1). The Media Online. Retrieved from https://themediaonline.co.za/2018/02/getting-to-know-the-es-sems-8-10-part-1/
Ross, J. 2021. Pandemic research ‘must prioritise human and political behaviour. Times Higher Education. Retrieved from Pandemic research ‘must prioritise human and political behaviour’ | Times Higher Education (THE).
Schnalke, M. & Mason, R.B. (2014). The influence of culture on marketing communications: critical cultural factors influencing South African and German businesses. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 12(1), 172-180. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10321/1211
Sekaran, U. & Bougie, R. (2013). Research Methods for Business: A Skill-Building Approach (6th ed.). Chichester: Wiley.
Sharma, V.M. & Klein, A. (2020). Consumer perceived value, involvement, trust, susceptibility to interpersonal influence, and intention to participate in online group buying. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 52(2), 101946, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.
Soudi, P.N., & Bouallala, F. (2020). The Impact of Covid-19 Crisis on The Hedonic Purchase Behavior: Case of Care Products. Journal of Research in Administrative Sciences, 9(2), 40-44. https://doi.org/10.47609/jras2020v9i2p7
StatsSA. (2020). People indicators. Retrieved from http://www.statssa.gov.za/?page_id=593
Svebak, S., Martin, R.A., & Holmen, J. (2004). The prevalence of sense of humor in a large, unselected county population in Norway: Relations with age, sex, and some health indicators. Humor - International Journal of Humor Research, 17(1-2), 121-134. https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.2004.001
The World Bank Group. (2019). GINI index (World Bank estimate). World Bank, Development Research Group. Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI?locations=CO
Vazquez, D., Wu, X., Nguyen, B., Kent, A., Gutierrez, A., & Chen, T. (2020). Investigating narrative involvement, parasocial interactions, and impulse buying behaviours within a second screen social commerce context. International Journal of Information Management, 53, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102135
Verma, M. & Naveen, B.R. (2021). COVID-19 Impact on Buying Behaviour. The Journal for Decision Makers, 46(1), 27-40. https://doi.org/10.1177/02560909211018885
Wright, O. & Blackburn, E. (2020). How COVID-19 will permanently change consumer behavior: Fast-changing consumer behaviors influence the future of the CPG industry. Accenture. April. Retrieved from COVID-19: Fast-changing Consumer Behavior | Accenture.
Wu, J.S., Font, X., & McCamley, C. (2022). COVID-19 social distancing compliance mechanisms: UK evidence. Environmental Research, 205, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.112528
Xiao, H., Zhang Z., & Zhang, L. (2020). A diary study of impulsive buying during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current Psychology, Nov. 23, 1-13. doi: 10.1007/s12144-020-01220-2.
Yang, Y., Li, O. Peng, X., & Wang, L. (2020). Consumption Trends during the Covid-19 crisis: How awe, coping, and social norms drive utilitarian purchases. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.588580.
Zaichkowsky, J.L. (1985). Measuring the Involvement Construct. Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), 341-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/208520
Zaki, H.O. & Hamid, S.N.A. (2021). The Influence of Time Availability, Happiness, and Weariness on Consumers’ Impulse Buying Tendency amidst Covid-19 Partial Lockdown in Malaysia. Jurnal Pengurusan, 62, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.17576/pengurusan-2021-62-07
Zwanka, R.J. & Buff, C. (2020). COVID-19 Generation: A Conceptual Framework of the Consumer Behavioral Shifts to Be Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 33(1), 58-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/08961530.2020.1771646
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Roger Mason, Karen M. Corbishley, Thomas Dobbelstein
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
For all articles published in IJRBS, copyright is retained by the authors. Articles are licensed under an open access Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license, meaning that anyone may download and read the paper for free. In addition, the article may be reused and quoted provided that the original published version is cited. These conditions allow for maximum use and exposure of the work, while ensuring that the authors receive proper credit.