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Immediacy pandemic: consumer problem-solving styles and adaptation strategies

Mohammadali Zolfagharian (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas, USA)
Atefeh Yazdanparast (University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 8 August 2018

Issue publication date: 19 July 2019

2185

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to delve into the complexity and multiplicity of consumer experiences in relation to mobile and virtual technology, and provides a lived-experience account of the Consumer Immediacy Pandemic (CIP) and related consumer experiences and responses.

Design/methodology/approach

Using open-ended, in-depth interviews, as well as personal essays, the research questions are addressed through the interpretive hermeneutic approach.

Findings

The CIP is an important, multifaceted consumer shift, whose ramifications are traceable in consumer behavior. It encompasses three consumer problem-solving styles (i.e. real-time, mobile and virtual problem-solving). Consumers adapt to the CIP through such strategies as unbundling of presence, temporal gain and synchronization, task continuity, work-fun integration and multi-tasking.

Research limitations/implications

With conventional theories ineffectively explaining consumer experiences with such products as smart phone, social media and selfie stick, this paper provides fruitful directions for studying consumer-technology relationships.

Practical implications

The findings point to untapped and novel needs rooted in consumer experience with mobile and virtual technology such as the needs for personal information management and/or professional counseling.

Social implications

The paper provides evidence as to a deep-seated shift in the role of technology in consumer life. Underestimating the ongoing and future success and power of mobile and virtual technology can be too costly for society at large.

Originality/value

This study exposes the dialogical interplay between consumer agency and structural influences that compels consumers to internalize immediacy as a taken-for-granted expectation. Such pandemic alters the ways consumers go about satisfying their needs and wants. The findings can help understand the twenty-first century consumer, theorize product agency and chart marketing and policy directions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is not supported by any external research funding. No financial interest or benefit will arise from the direct applications of this research.

Citation

Zolfagharian, M. and Yazdanparast, A. (2019), "Immediacy pandemic: consumer problem-solving styles and adaptation strategies", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 1051-1072. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-12-2016-0847

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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