Consumption & COVID-19

One year of lockdown later, this series looks at how COVID-19 has changed the way we consume and how it has accelerated some developments across sectors that impact the way we live, connect and communicate. 

Each week will focus on a different topic: multifunctional living spaces, mental health, minimalism and the move to sustainable live, and AI and machine learning. 

The Series

The Latest on COVID-19 and Consumption

Changing our Coping Strategies Amidst COVID-19 Living

As people in the U.S. mark six months of coronavirus, the challenges of coping with life during a pandemic continue to evolve. […]


‘That’s an Idea Worth exploring’: Age-friendly Initiatives and Death-Friendly Communities

Death looms larger than usual during a global pandemic. An age-friendly community works to make sure people are connected, healthy and active throughout their […]


Beyond Human – Everyday Bots and AI

As I write this, I am using text-to-speech technology, a nifty online feature that enables the reader to listen to, rather than […]


The COVID-19 Mental Health Curve

The mental health crisis triggered by COVID-19 is escalating rapidly. One example: When compared to a 2018 survey, U.S. adults are now eight times more likely […]


Overconsumption or a Move Towards Minimalism?

(Over)consumption, climate change and working from home. These are a few of the concerns at the forefront of consumers’ minds and three […]


SSRC Report Tackles COVID-Driven Growing Data Economy

In a time of crisis, it might seem like a necessity to share your data in the hopes it might help solve […]


Spaces that Work for Us

Changes in our daily habits have been as simple as no longer buying our morning cup of joe on the way to […]


Consumption and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Staying at home has completely changed our buying behaviors. Consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our technological advancement and reliance on […]


Consumption as Intercultural Communication and Interaction

When was the last time you went out for a Thai meal, got items from the ethnic isle of a supermarket, wore […]

shopping bags

Consumption Does Not Equate to Happiness

We all want stuff, but in our overdeveloped, fast-paced culture we seldom challenge ourselves to ask ourselves the one important question: how much is enough?


Instagram Redesigns for Shopping

Recently, when I opened Instagram, I noticed that the usual spot for checking notifications is now a Shop tab. The Instagram blog […]


Gift Giving, Gift Returning – The Unexpected Emotions Behind Receiving an Unwanted Gift

Is it possible that the experience of receiving gifts we do not like can take a toll on our mental well-being? Is […]


Online Christmas Shopping and Gift Giving as a Form of Retail Therapy?

The coronavirus Christmas of 2020 could turn into a bumper year for giving gifts. Our relationship with spending and the festive cheer […]


At Its Core, Changing Consumer Behavior Requires Empathy

Just as the current pandemic illuminates society’s pre-existing challenges, so too it shapes our behavior, changing the ways we interact, shop and consume.


Connective Consumption? Lockdown Life is Restructuring the Ways We Socialize

People have had a host of responses to lockdown living, ranging from cutting off all contact with others, to maintaining not only […]

Couple wearing facemasks

Behavior Changed, Yes, But Only After COVID Was At Doorstep

Research explains the relatively late behavioral reaction to the information of COVID-19 in Europe, writes Joan Costa-Font


Podcasts on Consumption

Ashley Mears

Social Science Bites | David Edmonds – Ashley Mears on the Global Party Circuit

It’s a scene you might recall from a music video or TV shows where a young alpha male goes to the club with his crew. They’re parked at a table, order bottle service while flanked by a bevy of attractive if faceless young women…That’s life as Ashley Mears documents in a neat little ethnographic study just released in book form as Very Important People: Beauty and Status in the Global Party Circuit.

Mears, an associate professor of sociology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Boston University, describes her 18 months of field work and her findings in this Social Science Bites podcast.

Social Science Bites | David Edmonds – Harvey Whitehouse on Rituals

One of the most salient aspects of what generally makes a ritual a ritual is that you can’t tell from the actions themselves why the have to be done that way – and that fascinates anthropologist Harvey Whitehouse.

“[Rituals] are that way,” he tells interviewer David Edmonds in this Social Science Space podcast, “simply because by cultural convention and general stipulation that is the done and proper way to carry out the behavior.”

The Future of Consumption | Kantar

The Future of Consumption is a regular podcast from Kantar about change, disruption, innovation, and reinventing the consumer marketplace. Hosted by Chief Knowledge Officer for Brand & Marketing J. Walker Smith, each episode features an in-depth interview with a Kantar authority about a critical trend shaping the future, as well as a quick recap of recent news and opinions on that topic from other articles, research, and experts across the web.

Freakonomics on Consumption | Stephen J. Dubner

Podcasts tagged under ‘consumption’ by Freakonomics Radio. Listen to more of their topics including Behavior Change here.

Additional Resources

The Bureau of Economic Analysis on ‘consumer spending’: “Consumer spending, or personal consumption expenditures (PCE), is the value of the goods and services purchased by, or on the behalf of, U.S. residents. At the national level, BEA publishes annual, quarterly, and monthly estimates of consumer spending.”

Track the monthly changes in American consumer spending on their website.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on ‘Consumer Price Index’: CPI is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. Indexes are available for the U.S. and various geographic areas. Average price data for select utility, automotive fuel, and food items are also available.

The Conversation on ‘Consumption’: Check out their articles tagged under consumption. Topics covered include sustainability, wealth, health and more.