This article develops a sociological understanding of consumer resilience across three national contexts during a prolonged, global health crisis – COVID-19. We asked 112 individuals from the UK, China and Malaysia to diarise their consumption during the initial lockdowns of 2020. We found that when social subjects were confronted with material, socio-relational and symbolic restrictions, two types of anxieties emerged – health, safety and wellbeing and social alienation – along with three coping-response strategies, consumer purification, consumer policing and consumer sociality. At this anxiety–coping interface, we identify reflexive, emotive and transformative narratives that are productive of consumer resilience. In this era of ‘Permacrisis’ relating to war, health, climate and cost-of-living, it is essential to examine consumer behaviour under conditions of deep uncertainty to comprehend how (resilient) social subjects use the (non-)market domain to cope with anxieties caused by multifaceted restrictions placed on everyday life.
- consumer resilience