Revenge Consumption: How we take revenge on Covid-19 pandemic

Bilgin Turna G.

International Siirt Conference on Scientific Research, Siirt, Turkey, 5 - 07 November 2021, vol.1, pp.115-116

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Siirt
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.115-116
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Sometimes injustice can cause a bitter reaction. Then we think about how we will react to this pain. Is coronavirus injustice for all of us? Probably yes. How did a virus change all of our lives abruptly, profoundly and irretrievably? The complications caused by this virus caused very serious deaths: almost 5 million people died in the world by October 2021. Isn’t it strange, the total amount of the virus that paralyzed the world is only 2 grams? We had been so rude to the world and that we have upset the balance of nature, it should not be surprising that such frightening diseases occur. We watched the coronavirus numbers like the basketball game score with anxiety on TV every evening. The loss of each individual was painful since we lost about two percent of the infected cases. The news that “1000 people tested positive today” actually meant the loss of 20 lives and the pain of 20 families after a while. Maybe we felt death much more closely during this period, the survival instinct made most of us stay at home. We have seen that happiness cannot be measured with money; healthy breathing is worth everything. And yet Covid-19 pandemic does not discriminate against race, language, religion, rich or poor. Today we live in a time where we question our lives. “Our money, our strength, our possessions, our intelligence, our intellect, our beauty will not protect us from this virus. Just a simple mask and physical distancing will do” say the experts. Videos on how to wash hands are everywhere. What’s more, we have understood the importance of our family and friends. Even though our social distance increased with our elders, children and friends, whom we neglected in the rush of life, we became emotionally close. When the children stayed at home, we understood the value of their teachers more. While it is so difficult to keep a child entertained at home, teachers keep a classroom full of chirpy children busy for hours every day and teach. On top of everything, many people who work in various service sectors have lost their jobs. What do they eat, what do they drink, how do they make a living? It has been almost 2 years since the outbreak of the pandemic. How we perceive the world and how we behave have totally changed. People who were laid off during the pandemic had to decrease their spending and buy only necessities. On the other hand, others who have high incomes are now in the phase of “revenge shopping” which is a term first emerged in China and has reappeared in China during current Covid-19 pandemic. The concept of revenge shopping actually consists of the consumption pattern for high-income consumers. The factors affecting the revenge are emotional, rational (successful marketing campaigns) and digital (hashtag). When people started to get vaccinated and felt like everything was going to be normal again, they tended to indulge and buy luxurious products and services more than usual. The factors affecting luxury consumption are considered as “hedonism, the need to be unique, materialism, consumption of status, conspicuous consumption and the concept of Mianzi”. Hedonic consumption includes behaviors that develop in relation to senses, perceptions, fantasies and emotions. It is claimed that the main factor triggering consumption in hedonic consumption is the pleasure and entertainment that consumers get from using the product, and that hedonic consumers are addicted to shopping. Materialism is “the pursuit of status and happiness through the acquisition of wealth and material possessions” and is concerned with the social meanings of consumer goods. Materialists evaluate themselves and others around them according to their appearance and existence. Status consumption is related to the consumer’s desire to gain prestige by acquiring luxury goods. Since the early days of the modern era, consumption has taken place as an important figure in people’s lives and consumption has now emerged as a means of expressing themselves, social status, and place. It has brought people to have a sense of social identity. Conspicuous consumption is a form of consumption in which a person separates himself from the lower class and approaches the upper class through consumption. Mianzi, protection of reputation, is an element stated to affect luxury consumption which reflects one’s social self-esteem and “desire to be respected during interpersonal interactions”. Reputation protection is an important concept that affects consumer behavior in societies especially with high levels of collectivism. Luxury is a pretentious phenomenon that promises aesthetic satisfaction and privilege, has rarity, and defends the symbolic features of the brand for the consumer. Despite the fact that the luxury market is quite small, it is a huge and important market in terms of the amount of sales and, above all, the impact it has on consumers. Luxury brands have excellent quality, high prices, are rare and unique, have aesthetic concerns, have a legacy from the past, and are redundant and unnecessary. Revenge shoppers think that they have missed a lot in life during Covid-19 and make a quick entrance to the market in order to return to their old shopping habits during the normalization. Chinese consumers make up a third of the luxury industry. Accordingly, the reopening of stores that were closed for a long time in China due to Covid-19 has led to a frenzy of revenge shopping. Store traffic in China is on the rise again after falling as much as 80% to the peak of the virus outbreak earlier this winter. Brands such as Burberry and Gucci have reached high sales figures, customers lined up to shop at Chanel. The store of the French luxury fashion house Hermes in China has also been one of the brands opened after a long time. The store had a turnover of 2.7 million dollars on the opening day alone. This is the highest grossing ever by a single boutique in China in a single day. The luxury consumer market has experienced many difficulties before, such as the World Wars and the 1918 Spanish flu. However, revenge spending is also unlikely to make up for all lost sales. Luxury industry should turn to more consumer-oriented communication strategies, accelerate digitalization and focus their main positioning goals on sustainability which has three pillars: economic (profit), environmental (planet) and social (people) in order to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations”. 

Keywords: Covid-19, Revenge Consumption, Luxury Brands, Sustainability.