Consumption dynamics during recession and recovery: a learning journey

Maria Sarmento, Susana Marques, Mercedes Galan - Ladero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


This paper original contribution builds on examining consumer attitudes in periods of recession and post-recession, providing new insights concerning consumer decision-making, new logics of spending and saving behavior and also opening new paths for research on the psychology of choice in contexts of recession and the immediate stage of recovery. The study used a longitudinal qualitative approach comprising twenty-two semi-structured interviews with eleven Portuguese consumers. The research was conducted in two moments in time: 2014 and 2018, corresponding to periods of Portuguese recession and recovery. The results show that, during recessions, consumers look for economic level-headedness, adopting and assuming new behaviors that allow them to accommodate the reduced income, which also translates into increased social responsibility. Besides switching to cheaper options, namely looking for private labels and national brand promotions, consumers revealed new strategies and new habits, such as i) more organization and planned behavior; ii) going shopping more frequently; iii) reducing stocking behavior, and iv) avoiding wasting. The study expands the comprehension of consumer behavior during recessions and recovery, bringing the idea of crises as ‘learning journeys’ and transformational opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumption
  • Economic crisis
  • Longitudinal
  • Recession
  • Recovery


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