Research Topic

Technologies in Social Distancing: Shopping, Consumption and Psychological Implications

About this Research Topic

With many countries experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, we expect the impact of the pandemic to be long-lasting. As an important measure to combat the virus, social distancing has been observed worldwide and gradually regarded as a new norm that guides consumers’ daily activities. Some of our behavioral patterns may be changed forever due to social distancing which is likely to be continued to the post-pandemic era.

In particular, we have observed a group of consumers who choose to shop exclusively online (for grocery shopping and leisure shopping) and request for only contactless deliveries (e.g. unattended home delivery at doorstep or self-collection at automated parcel lockers). These consumers are able to conduct shopping activities independently without any social supports and without even leaving their homes. They are empowered by the modern shopping and logistics systems, but also potentially ‘lonely shoppers’ (a neutral term) in the context of social distancing.

Against this background, the aim of this Research Topic is to examine the changing shopping/consumption patterns and the associated psychological impacts due to social distancing. More specifically, shopping, which was primarily a social activity, seems to have become a technology-dependent task. Modern consumers now become socially-excluded but technologically-empowered. The transfer from a “high-touch” to a “high-tech” orientation has been witnessed in the service industry, which is greatly accelerated by the exceptional situation of COVID-19.

The list of possible topics for this special issue includes, but is not limited to:
• Impact of technologies on the changing shopping/consumption patterns
• Use of artificial intelligence in shopping and the associated challenges and opportunities
• Interaction patterns between human and technologies / artificial intelligence / robots
• Service robots as a new form of companion
• Impact of digital services on older generations
• Health concerns that influence shopping / consumption behaviours
• Culture of Individualism and its impact on shopping / consumption patterns
• Prevalence of social distancing and its psychological impacts on consumers


Keywords: COVID-19, Social distancing, Shopping, Consumption and psychological implications


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

With many countries experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, we expect the impact of the pandemic to be long-lasting. As an important measure to combat the virus, social distancing has been observed worldwide and gradually regarded as a new norm that guides consumers’ daily activities. Some of our behavioral patterns may be changed forever due to social distancing which is likely to be continued to the post-pandemic era.

In particular, we have observed a group of consumers who choose to shop exclusively online (for grocery shopping and leisure shopping) and request for only contactless deliveries (e.g. unattended home delivery at doorstep or self-collection at automated parcel lockers). These consumers are able to conduct shopping activities independently without any social supports and without even leaving their homes. They are empowered by the modern shopping and logistics systems, but also potentially ‘lonely shoppers’ (a neutral term) in the context of social distancing.

Against this background, the aim of this Research Topic is to examine the changing shopping/consumption patterns and the associated psychological impacts due to social distancing. More specifically, shopping, which was primarily a social activity, seems to have become a technology-dependent task. Modern consumers now become socially-excluded but technologically-empowered. The transfer from a “high-touch” to a “high-tech” orientation has been witnessed in the service industry, which is greatly accelerated by the exceptional situation of COVID-19.

The list of possible topics for this special issue includes, but is not limited to:
• Impact of technologies on the changing shopping/consumption patterns
• Use of artificial intelligence in shopping and the associated challenges and opportunities
• Interaction patterns between human and technologies / artificial intelligence / robots
• Service robots as a new form of companion
• Impact of digital services on older generations
• Health concerns that influence shopping / consumption behaviours
• Culture of Individualism and its impact on shopping / consumption patterns
• Prevalence of social distancing and its psychological impacts on consumers


Keywords: COVID-19, Social distancing, Shopping, Consumption and psychological implications


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

11 January 2021 Abstract
11 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

11 January 2021 Abstract
11 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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