Coping with crisis: The paradox of technology and consumer vulnerability

Sheau‐Fen Yap, Yingzi Xu, LayPeng Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions in consumers’ daily lives. Regulations imposing social distancing, quarantine, and full-scale lockdowns have heightened the risks amongst vulnerable consumer groups such as the elderly and socially or financially disadvantaged. However, these restrictions have also caused transitory vulnerability in many people who are not considered vulnerable under normal circumstances. Digital technology has become central to almost every aspect of consumers’ lives in response to restriction measures and in coping with pandemic-induced stress and anxiety. Technology-mediated consumption as a coping strategy amidst a crisis is an under-researched topic within the marketing literature. This paper discusses four paradoxes of technology central to understanding the nexus between technology consumption and consumer vulnerability. We propose a comprehensive research agenda and call for future research that could overcome the limitations of traditional research designs. Our work serves as a springboard for future scholarship and opens doors for other researchers to continue exploring this critical research area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1257
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • consumer vulnerability
  • consumer welfare
  • consumption coping
  • disaster
  • technology paradox


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