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Rise of ‘Lonely’ Consumers in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Synthesised Review on Psychological, Commercial and Social Implications

1
Department of International Logistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Korea
2
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020404
Received: 20 December 2020 / Revised: 5 January 2021 / Accepted: 5 January 2021 / Published: 6 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence and Technologies in Pandemic Management)
Loneliness is a pervasive problem recognised as a serious social issue, and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated loneliness to greater prominence and concern. We expect a rise of a massive group of ‘lonely’ consumers who are deeply entrenched in the social isolation caused by COVID-19. There is an urgent need to revisit the phenomenon of lonely consumers to better prepare academic researchers, public policy makers and commercial managers in the post-COVID-19 era. Thus, this study conducts a synthesised review on past studies of lonely consumers. Based on an inductive analysis of 56 articles, 74 key themes are identified. These key themes are further categorised into five major clusters by way of a co-occurrence network analysis. Respectively, the five clusters address the psychological implications related to the dynamics between nonhuman attachment and consumers’ loneliness, the commercial implications related to the paradoxical motivations of affiliation and self-affirmation in product selection and the dual information processing mechanism in response to advertisement appeals, and the social implications related to consumers’ well-being in an ageing society and the anthropomorphic companionship in a virtual world. A list of research questions is proposed that concludes the review study. View Full-Text
Keywords: lonely consumers; social exclusion/isolation; literature review; COVID-19; social distancing; co-occurrence network analysis lonely consumers; social exclusion/isolation; literature review; COVID-19; social distancing; co-occurrence network analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, X.; Wong, Y.D.; Yuen, K.F. Rise of ‘Lonely’ Consumers in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Synthesised Review on Psychological, Commercial and Social Implications. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 404. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020404

AMA Style

Wang X, Wong YD, Yuen KF. Rise of ‘Lonely’ Consumers in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Synthesised Review on Psychological, Commercial and Social Implications. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(2):404. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020404

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Xueqin; Wong, Yiik D.; Yuen, Kum F. 2021. "Rise of ‘Lonely’ Consumers in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Synthesised Review on Psychological, Commercial and Social Implications" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 2: 404. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020404

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