Online food shopping reinvented: developing digitally enabled coping strategies in times of crisis

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The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted consumer food shopping. This paper aims to conceptualise, illustrate and explain how and why online grocery shopping has changed during the pandemic. Taking a shopping-as-practice approach and drawing on ethnographic interviews with 31 Swedish households, we analyse how online grocery shopping was performed during the pandemic.

Our findings show that online grocery shopping was reinvented during the pandemic, it was no longer only a convenient mode of shopping, but became also a way to cope with the crisis brought about by Covid-19. This change, however, was demanding as developing and routinizing a new mode of shopping practice required substantial work on the part of consumers. Consumers had to engage in detailed planning, to learn to shop anew, and to develop temporal sensitivity. By developing this new mode of online grocery shopping consumers were able to cope, both practically and emotionally, with the challenges brought on by the restrictions.

This study provides insights into consumers’ capacities to manage a food crisis, showing that this capacity depends on both retailers’ digital food platforms as well as consumers’ pre-existing shopping competencies and social networks. We conclude by discussing both the managerial and societal implications of these results.
Sidor (från-till)130-150
Antal sidor21
TidskriftInternational Review of Retail Distribution & Consumer Research
Tidigt onlinedatum2022 mars 14
StatusPublished - 2022

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Företagsekonomi
  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier


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