Environmental Concerns, Sustainable Consumption, and COVID-19 Fear in Online Consumers: A Research Exploration


As a conceptual paper, this study examines the nuanced relationships between consumers’ environmental orientations (egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric) and their sustainable consumption patterns, particularly emphasizing the prevailing influence of COVID-19 fear. Utilizing a targeted survey approach, responses from online Taiwanese and Thai consumers are gathered and analyzed through a Structural Equation Model, incorporating diverse analytical avenues such as path, mediation, moderation, and multi-group analyses. The study aims to describe prosocial consumers by their distinct environmental concerns and subsequent sustainable consumption behaviors. Furthermore, the study sheds light on how the COVID-19 pandemic has modulated the dynamic between environmental considerations and tangible sustainable consumption actions. In a post-pandemic setting, the study contributes to academic discourse by highlighting the confluence of environmental consciousness and sustainable consumption. It also provides pragmatic implications for businesses, directing them towards eco-centric product offerings and cultivating a deeper ecological awareness among consumers, fostering sustainable purchase intention and behaviors.


[1] Ahorsu, D. K., C. Y. Lin, V. Imani, M. Saffari, M. D. Griffiths, and A. H. Pakpour. 2022. The Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Development and Initial Validation. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 20 (3):1537-1545. DOI: 10.1007/s11469-020-00270-8
[2] Ajzen, I., and A. W. Kruglanski. 2019. Reasoned action in the service of goal pursuit. Psychological Review, 126(5):774-786. DOI: 10.1037/rev0000155
[3] Ajzen, I. 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2):179-211. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T
[4] Ajzen, I. 2012. Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology: Volume 1. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
[5] Ayar, I., and Ahmet Gürbüz. 2021. Sustainable Consumption Intentions of Consumers in Turkey: A Research Within the Theory of Planned Behavior. SAGE Open, 11(3). DOI: 10.1177/21582440211047563
[6] Caniëls, M.C. J., Lambrechts, W., Platje, J., Motylska-Kuźma, A. and Fortuński, B. 2021. 50 Shades of Green: Insights into Personal Values and Worldviews as Drivers of Green Purchasing Intention, Behaviour, and Experience. Sustainability, 13(8):4140.
[7] Chae, Myoung-Jin. 2021. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainable consumption. Social Behavior and Personality, 49(6):1-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.10199
[8] Chenarides, L., Grebitus, C., Lusk, J.L. and Printezis, I. 2021. Food consumption behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agribusiness, 37(1):44-81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/agr.21679
[9] Chin, W. W. 1998. Commentary: Issues and Opinion on Structural Equation Modeling. MIS Quarterly, 22(1):vii-xvi.
[10] Concari, A., Kok, G., Martens, P. and Brink, N. 2023. Investigating the Role of Goals and Motivation on Waste Separation Behavior Through the Lens of the Theory of Reasoned Goal Pursuit. Environmental Management, 72 (5):1019-1031. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-023-01820-1
[11] Dangelico, R. M., Schiaroli, V., and Fraccascia, L.. 2022. Is Covid‐19 changing sustainable consumer behavior? A survey of Italian consumers. Sustainable Development, 30(6):1477-1496. DOI:10.1002/sd.2322.
[12] Fablus, V., Kohli, S., Timelin, B. and Veranen, S. 2020. How COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior - now and forever. accessed July 5, 2022. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/how-COVID-19-is-changing-consumer-behavior-now-and-forever
[13] Fawzy El-Bardan, M., and Lathabhavan, R.. 2021. Fear of COVID-19 scale: Psychometric properties, reliability and validity in Egyptian population. Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, 15(4): 102153. DOI:10.1016/j.dsx.2021.05.026
[14] Hakim, M.P., D'Avoglio Zanetta, L., and da Cunha, D.T. 2021. Should I stay, or should I go? Consumers’ perceived risk and intention to visit restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil. Food Research International, 141:110152-110152. DOI:10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110152
[15] Hamilton, K., Phipps, D. J. Schmidt, P. Bamberg, S. and Ajzen, I. 2022. First test of the theory of reasoned goal pursuit: predicting physical activity. Psychol Health, DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2022.2026946
[16] Hilgard, E. R. 1980. The trilogy of mind: cognition, affection, and conation. Journal of History of Behavioral Sciences, 16(2):107-17. DOI:10.1002/1520-6696(198004)16:2<107::aid-jhbs2300160202>3.0.co;2-y
[17] Huttel, A., and Balderjahn, I. 2021. The coronavirus pandemic: A window of opportunity for sustainable consumption or a time of turning away? Journal of Consumer Affairs, 56(1): 68-96. DOI:10.1111/joca.12419
[18] Hwang, H., and Yeo, H. 2022. Inconsistency between subjective propensity and practice of sustainable consumption: Impact of the consumers’ values‐in‐behavior and social participation. Sustainable Development, 30(6):1796-1810. DOI:10.1002/sd.2348
[19] Jian, Y., Yu, I.Y., Yang, M. X. and Zeng, K. J. 2020. The Impacts of Fear and Uncertainty of COVID-19 on Environmental Concerns, Brand Trust, and Behavioral Intentions toward Green Hotels. Sustainability, 12(20):8688.
[20] Joireman, J., and Durante, K. M. 2016. Editorial overview: Consumer behavior. Current Opinion in Psychology, 10: iv-vii. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.06.011
[21] Kaur, T., and Luchs, M. G. 2022. Mindfulness enhances the values that promote sustainable consumption. Psychology and Marketing, 39(5): 990-1006. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21636
[22] Khan, M. S., Saengon, P., Alganad, A. M. N., Chongcharoen, D. and Farrukh, M. 2020. Consumer green behaviour: An approach towards environmental sustainability. Sustainable Development, 28(5):1168-1180. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/sd.2066
[23] Kruglanski, A.W., et al. 2002. A theory of goal systems. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology Volume, 34: 331-378. Academic Press.
[24] Leal Filho, W., et al. 2022. The influences of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainable consumption: an international study. Environmental Sciences Europe, 34(1): 54. DOI: 10.1186/s12302-022-00626-y
[25] Lim, Yong Kwan, Oh Joo Kweon, Hye Ryoun Kim, Tae-Hyoung Kim, and Mi-Kyung Lee. 2021. The impact of environmental variables on the spread of COVID-19 in the Republic of Korea. Scientific Reports,11(1): 5977. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-85493-y
[26] Lin, C. Y., et al. 2021. Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) across countries: Measurement invariance issues. Nursing Open, 8(4): 1892-1908. DOI: 10.1002/nop2.855
[27] Lingqvist, O., Nordigarden, D., Roeper, E. and Vainberg, G. 2021. Beyond COVID-19: The new consumer behavior is sticking in the tissue industry. accessed July 5, 2022. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/paper-forest-products-and-packaging/our-insights/beyond-COVID-19-the-new-consumer-behavior-is-sticking-in-the-tissue-industry
[28] Miftari, I., Haas, R., Meixner, O., Imami, D. and Gjokaj, E. 2022. Factors Influencing Consumer Attitudes towards Organic Food Products in a Transition Economyandmdash;Insights from Kosovo. Sustainability, 14(10): 5873.
[29] Muhammad, Sulaman, Xingle Long, and Muhammad Salman. 2020. COVID-19 pandemic and environmental pollution: A blessing in disguise? Science of The Total Environment, 728: 138820. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138820
[30] Pepper, M., Jackson, T. and Uzzell, D. 2009. An examination of the values that motivate socially conscious and frugal consumer behaviours. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33(2): 126-136. DOI:10.1111/j.1470-6431.2009.00753.x
[31] Quoquab, F., and Mohammad, J. 2020. Cognitive, affective and conative domains of sustainable consumption: Scale development and validation using confirmatory composite analysis. Sustainability, 12(18): 7784.
[32] Rovetta, A. 2021. The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Particulate Matter Emissions in Lombardy and Italian Citizens’ Consumption Habits. Frontiers in Sustainability, 2: 649715. DOI: 10.3389/frsus.2021.649715
[33] Rume, T., and Didar-Ul Islam, S. M. 2020. Environmental effects of COVID-19 pandemic and potential strategies of sustainability. Heliyon, 6(9): e04965-e04965. DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04965
[34] Schultz, W. P. 2001. The Structure of Environmental Concern: Concern for Self, Other People, and the Biosphere. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 21(4): 327-339. DOI: 10.1006/jevp.2001.0227
[35] Severo, E. A., De Guimaraes, J. C. F. and Dellarmelin, M. L. 2021. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on environmental awareness, sustainable consumption and social responsibility: Evidence from generations in Brazil and Portugal. Journal of Clean Production, 286: 124947. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.124947
[36] Small, D.A., and Cryder, C. 2016. Prosocial consumer behavior. Current Opinion in Psychology, 10: 107-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.01.001
[37] Sun, X., Su, W., Guo, X. and Tian, Z. 2021. The Impact of Awe Induced by COVID-19 Pandemic on Green Consumption Behavior in China. International Journal of Environmental Ressearch and Public Health, 18(2):543. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18020543
[38] Vyas, L., and Butakhieo, N. 2020. The impact of working from home during COVID-19 on work and life domains: an exploratory study on Hong Kong. Policy Design and Practice, 4(1): 1-18. DOI:10.1080/25741292.2020.1863560
[39] Wetchayont, P. 2021. Investigation on the Impacts of COVID-19 Lockdown and Influencing Factors on Air Quality in Greater Bangkok, Thailand. Advances in Meteorology, 2021:6697707. DOI:10.1155/2021/6697707.
[40] White, K., Habib, R. and Dahl, D.W. 2020. A Review and Framework for Thinking about the Drivers of Prosocial Consumer Behavior. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 5(1): 2-18. DOI:10.1086/706782
[41] Widayat, W., et al. 2022. Responsible Consumer Behavior: Driving Factors of Pro-Environmental Behavior toward Post-Consumption Plastic Packaging. Sustainability, 14 (1): 425. DOI: 10.3390/su14010425
[42] Wong, W. M., and Tzeng, S.-Y. 2019. Consumers’ psychographics and green consumption intention: Community supported agriculture business model in China. International Journal of Business and Society, 20(1): 229-246.
[43] Zameer, H., and Yasmeen, H. 2022. Green innovation and environmental awareness driven green purchase intentions. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 40(5):624-638. DOI: 10.1108/MIP-12-2021-0457
How to Cite
WONG, Wong Ming et al. Environmental Concerns, Sustainable Consumption, and COVID-19 Fear in Online Consumers: A Research Exploration. Theoretical and Practical Research in Economic Fields, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 2, p. 246 - 257, dec. 2023. ISSN 2068-7710. Available at: <https://journals.aserspublishing.eu/tpref/article/view/8211>. Date accessed: 25 feb. 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.14505/tpref.v14.2(28).05.