Covid and online shopping: Were consumers forced to compromise on ethics?

Adam Poole, Keith Glanfield, Carley Foster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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The restrictions imposed on retailing at the onset of the Covid 19 Pandemic in early 2020 left many consumers with little option other than to shop online, which for some, represented a significant change to their purchasing behaviour. As consumers have voiced ethical concerns about both online shopping and online retailers in the past, for many consumers, this sudden shift to online shopping caused by the pandemic may also have involved compromising their ethical values.

Such compromises are of concern as both ethical and sustainability issues have been found to have a significant impact upon consumer purchasing behaviour, particularly amongst younger generations, who believe that both they and the businesses they transact with have a duty to make the world a better place.
This developmental paper represents the first step in investigating the impact of ethical concerns upon consumer purchasing behaviour relating to online shopping during the pandemic and whether consumers were forced to compromise on ethical issues due to the restrictions imposed to control the pandemic. This paper will also investigate if consumers will revert to their previous purchasing behaviour for ethical reasons once those restrictions are lifted.

In doing so this research aims to contribute to both the retailing and ethical consumption literature, and, by means of developing a typology for consumers in these circumstances, to the consumer behaviour literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management Conference in the Cloud
Subtitle of host publicationRecovering from Covid: Responsible Management and Reshaping the Economy
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9956413-4-1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


  • Ethics
  • Covid 19
  • consumers
  • purchase intention
  • Consumer behaviour


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