1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 presents an alarming health crisis that the world is grappling with. In addition to the human impact, there is also significant economic, business and commercial impact being felt globally. As viruses know no borders, the impacts will continue to spread. In fact, 94 percent of the Fortune 1000 across the globe, and businesses in Nigeria have been impacted and are already seeing COVID-19 disruptions. Amidst the evolving strategies and initiatives to halt the spread of corona virus pandemic around the globe, shifting consumer behaviour to online trade channels and digital platforms can provide the needed incentive to keep people safe and by extension promote the growth of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry. Keeping safe and staying alive is everyone’s most cherished watchword at this time. The corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic in many of the countries including Nigeria is not abating despite concerted steps by governments, private sector players, multilateral organisations and other stakeholders to halt the rate of transmission. In the face of the escalation of the pandemic, the Nigerian government and 36 state governments are strengthening enforcement and compliance of residents with the stay-at-home order aimed to check movement of people. By implication, Nigerians will stay at home for longer days, weeks or even months. Disruption in the logistics and supply chain that has already affected the availability of basic essential goods will also be disrupted further. The likelihood of a shortage of foods, water, toiletries, drugs and other essential items may result in days to come, as existing products in the warehouses and those on the shelves at the supermarkets and malls may run out. As COVID-19 becomes a global pandemic and consumers change their buying habits, it’s more important than ever that you have a complete view of the marketplace. Our global study reveals how this changing behaviour can create new opportunities for marketers. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many different sectors in business. Not only retailers are suffering from the consequences, but also the E-Commerce sector is experiencing a slump in sales. Due to “Social Distancing” it is observed that more and more people spend their time online. Social Media platforms are mostly used and enable the people to see more content from certain companies. This is reflected by the online activity of followers of Brand sites having increased by 16.1%, compared to the last full week of February [Internet resource: 2020].
Businesses are established by investors to mainly undertake or handle certain services and products upon which they are expected to overtime build their brand in a particular market and environment. This makes the activities, crisis and events or happenings in such market and environment could to an extent influence the sales, patronage, and profit of that business (like departmental stores). Averting this scenario amidst a crisis like COVID-19, as a coronary disease and fast spreading global pandemic that has unprecedentedly ignited the transformation and shuttering of economic activities including aiding consumers evolving or shifting and changing their brands and needs, is extremely important. In view of this Motti (2020) stated that COVID-19 has not only impacted consumer shopping and habits but has inevitably compelled operators of stores to responsively make changes in stocking the products and delivering services that is essential and trending among customers if they are to retain their brand loyalty. This is what Adach (2020) regard as the COVID-19 business world that marketers must strategically plan to effectively respond to by deliberately rising to occasion and intense pressure of swiftly providing and delivering the products, brands, goods and services (like household staples and health-related goods, such as groceries, bottled water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, face masks, etc.) that consumers desire or crave for in these times of the COVID-19 outbreak, using technology as a strategy to increase retailing without physical contact in this period of isolation (Meyer, 2020). In other words, the adoption of agile marketing which Kalsi (2020) says has soar from 32% globally, would help businesses meet up with changing their short, medium and long-term marketing plan and marketing campaigns in line with current realities like flexible payments, remote work and shifting priorities expected to change consumer buying pattern and behaviour, task marketers ingenuity, as well as dip business output (i.e. performance, profit and patronage).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to analyse Covid-19 as a factor for commerce and consumer behaviour. Other general objectives of the study are:
- To examine the impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce platforms
- To analyze the impact of Covid-19 on commerce and consumer behaviour in Nigeria
- To examine factors causing change in customer behaviour during COVID-19 Pandemic
- To examine the influence of market shutdown on commerce and consumer behaviour.
- To examine the relationship between effect of Covid-19 pandemic on commerce and consumer behaviour.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce platforms?
- How is the impact of Covid-19 on commerce and consumer behaviour in Nigeria?
- What are the factors causing change in customer behaviour during COVID-19 Pandemic?
- How did market shutdown influence commerce and consumer behaviour?
- What is the relationship between effect of Covid-19 pandemic on commerce and consumer behaviour?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Corona virus (COVID-19) has no significant impact on commerce and consumer behaviour in Nigeria
H1: Corona virus (COVID-19) has a significant impact on commerce and consumer behaviour in Nigeria
H0: There is no significant relationship between effect of Covid-19 pandemic on commerce and consumer behaviour
H1: There is a significant relationship between effect of Covid-19 pandemic on commerce and consumer behaviour
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study on the effect of corona virus disease (COVID-19) on the Nigeria economy will be of immense benefit to all the Nigeria citizens, the health sector, and the federal government of Nigeria. The study will explore the prevalence of corona virus disease (COVID-19), the causes, and the impact of the corona virus (COVID-19) on the Nigeria economy, commerce and consumer behaviour. Due to the difficulty of quantifying the real impact as a result of the uncertainty, the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, and scarcity of the data, our work focuses on understanding the possible socio-economic repercussions in order to propose policy recommendations to respond to the crisis. The study will educate the Nigeria government on the policy implementation to curb the prevalence of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) and how to improve the Nigeria economy during this period. The study will serve as a repository of information to other researchers that desire to carry out similar research on the above topic. Finally the study will contribute to the body of the existing literature on the effect of corona virus disease (COVID-19) on commerce and consumer behaviour.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the analysis of Covid-19 as a factor for commerce and consumer behaviour, a case study of Jumia, Lagos state, Nigeria.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Corona Virus Pandemic (COVID-19): Corona virus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.
Commerce: Commerce is the conduct of trade among economic agents. Generally, commerce refers to the exchange of goods, services, or something of value, between businesses or entities.
Consumer behaviour: Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, and how the consumer’s emotions, attitudes and preferences affect buying behaviour.
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