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Keep calm and carry on: European consumers and the development of persistent resilience in the face of austerity

Isabelle T. Szmigin (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Deirdre Mary O'Loughlin (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Morven McEachern (Department of Management, Business School, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Kalipso Karantinou (Department of Marketing and Communication, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Belem Barbosa (Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Grigorios Lamprinakos (Department of Marketing and Communication, Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), Athens, Greece)
María Eugenia Fernández-Moya (Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros, Madrid, Spain)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 10 June 2020

Issue publication date: 17 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

In the context of European consumers’ experiences of austerity, this study aims to advance current resilience theory in marketing through developing persistent resilience from a context of austerity influenced consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an interpretivist approach, 38 face to face, in-depth interviews were conducted with European consumers from Ireland, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece who were affected in some way by the global financial crisis.

Findings

Building upon limited conceptual and empirical investigations in social geography, the analysis identifies the themes of persistent stressors and temporal orientation as constants, alongside day-to-day coping, relating and pragmatism, consumer adjustment, repertoires of resistance and transformation as key elements of persistent resilience within the consumption context of austerity.

Research limitations/implications

The study addresses the limited theoretical and empirical focus on persistent resilience and austerity and directly contributes to consumer behaviour and marketing theory in understanding persistent resilience and its implications.

Practical implications

Changes to behaviours as a result of persistent resilience included reducing and stopping consumption, discount shopping, alternative consumption in the form of growing or making and mindful consumption through wastage reduction and re-use.

Social implications

The study highlights the significant social impact of austerity while also identifying positive outcomes for social relations among family, friends and the wider community.

Originality/value

This study develops and extends Golubchikov’s (2011) theory of persistent resilience through exploring European consumer responses to austerity, identifying key consumption characteristics relevant for marketing theory and practice.

Keywords

Citation

Szmigin, I.T., O'Loughlin, D.M., McEachern, M., Karantinou, K., Barbosa, B., Lamprinakos, G. and Fernández-Moya, M.E. (2020), "Keep calm and carry on: European consumers and the development of persistent resilience in the face of austerity", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54 No. 8, pp. 1883-1907. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-04-2018-0253

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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