Image of Business Instructional Facility

Apr 9, 2020 2020-04 Business Administration Faculty

Torelli explains pandemic-related emerging global consumer behaviors

Gies College of Business Professor Carlos Torelli shared the marketing implications of new coronavirus-driven consumer behaviors in a webinar that helps businesses navigate uncertain business and social times. Torelli is also executive director of Executive Education and James F. Towey Faculty Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Torelli_Carlos (1)“We look forward to continuing to offer our faculty’s perspectives through our innovative online platform that’s built to share our expertise in an informative and engaging way,” said Brooke Elliott, Associate Dean of Online Programs and EY Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Gies College of Business.

The second in the Global Challenges in Business series, “Consumer Behavior in the Global Marketplace in the Time of Coronavirus” looks at ways business leaders can overcome the challenges this pandemic presents. Torelli discusses how a global crisis impacts the psychological responses of consumers in global markets and considers how organizations address resulting consumer concerns and needs. The full session is available here.

“People want to gain some sort of control of their life and prepare for what’s to come. When people feel uncertainty, they buy things they know they will consume, like toilet paper or cereal,” said Torelli.

Over the next nine months Torelli believes consumers will gravitate towards brands that feel familiar and that highlight local production and sourcing.

“Emphasize a leadership position, even if it’s narrow. Position your brand as the status quo, whenever possible,” Torelli added, citing that new and imported products will be at a disadvantage. “Consumers will be more appreciative of American-made products that are more familiar and normative.”

Globally, a focus on safety and consumer’s cultural world view will drive how people respond to the crisis over the long term.

“This hypersensitivity of mortality is what’s going to lead people to fan their cultural world view. There will be a doubling down on conforming to the norm and punishing deviant behavior,” he said. “People will be even more risk-averse.”