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From Panic-Buying To Mask Mandates, Here's How The Pandemic Is Changing The Way Idahoans Shop

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Matt Rourke
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AP Images
A shopper looks at items near empty shelves that once supported an abundance of cleaning supplies at a grocery store in Pennsylvania in March 2020. Coronavirus concerns have led to consumer panic buying of cleaning supplies and grocery staples.

First, it was cleaning products. Then, toilet paper. Now, sales of alcohol and video games are skyrocketing. All of these are no coincidence to Niusha Jones, a marketing professor at Boise State University.

 

Jones says our emotions - panic, fear & anxiety - play a key role in what we are buying right now, and those trends show up in consumer spending data.

 

What we're buying is not the only way the pandemic has effected consumer trends. As mask wearing has become politicized, and mask policies and enforcement vary from place to play, that is changing where some people chose to shop.

 

We asked you, the listeners, to send us your comments about how mask-wearing has impacted the way you shop during the pandemic. Caile writes that the word "mask" elicits a different response than "face covering." So, we ask Jones how word choice makes its way into marketing. 

And Michael writes that he is now boycotting businesses whose owners support politicians who he believes are making the pandemic worse. To Jones, we ask: How often does the marketing world see consumers care about the opinions or financial contributions of the company’s executives? 

 

Niusha Jones joins Idaho Matters to get more into the psychology of consumption. 

As COVID-19 cases spread through the U.S. and Idaho, we’re committed to keeping you updated and informed. You can get updated info on cases, closures and how to stay healthy at any time on our Coronavirus news blog.

 

Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

 

Member support is what makes local COVID-19 reporting possible. Support this coverage here.

Molly Wampler is a newsroom intern at Boise State Public Radio. Originally from Berkeley, California, she just graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Washington state. There, Molly worked for her university's newspaper but is stoked to try her hand at and learn all there is to learn about radio journalism.