Marketing Faculty Publications and Presentations

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COVID-19 and its precautions, including social distancing, have revolutionized traditional retailing- and consumption patterns. In this turbulent environment, the purpose of this study is twofold. First, this paper explores the direct effect of consumers’ internal/external health locus-of-control on their hygiene consciousness, which, in turn, affects their social distancing behavior. Second, this study posits that social distancing, in turn, impacts consumers’ current online grocery shopping behavior and their future online grocery shopping intentions, thus uncovering important insight.


To address these gaps, this paper develops a model that links consumers’ internal/external health locus-of-control to their adoption of e-tailing-based grocery services. Data collected through a web-based survey was analyzed by using partial least squares-based structural equation modeling.


The results indicate that consumers’ health locus-of-control indirectly affects the way they shop for their groceries during the pandemic. In particular, consumers’ internal (external) health locus-of-control drives higher (lower) hygiene consciousness and greater (lower) social distancing behavior. In turn, consumers’ online grocery shopping behavior was found to increase during the pandemic, with their corresponding intent to continue this behavior in the future. Moreover, this study finds the effects of consumers’ social distancing on their current grocery shopping behavior and future intentions to be contingent on consumer age, with stronger effects identified for older consumers.


This study shows how consumers’ internal/external health loci-of-control exert opposing effects on their social distancing behavior, as mediated by hygiene consciousness. Overall, the empirical analyzes corroborate the association of consumers’ social distancing- and online grocery shopping behavior (for consumers of different age profiles), both during and after the pandemic.


This Open Access post‐print is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution‐Non Commercial‐No Derivatives.

Publication Title

Journal of Services Marketing


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Marketing Commons



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