Ken Hughes: The Consumer Psychology Behind the Panic

Ken Hughes

Ken Hughes, retail expert, shared his insights on the consumer psychology behind panic-buying amidst the corona virus outbreak. Why people across the world are stocking up on loo paper? From establishing a sense of control to herding, there are more underlying reasons that we are aware of.

Uncertainty brings unpredictability. Faced with uncertainty, we will do things in order to feel in control. For well established uncertainties, there are known solutions. Take hurricane season for example.

Every year, certain geographies are known to experience their fair share of hurricanes. In one way this is similar to the Covid-19 threat in that it is a natural disaster, relatively uncertain in terms of how much an effect it will have on any given individual, and it too may cause death or destruction.

The difference is that hurricanes are a known entity. There is a certain if/then response to the threat, and therefore the uncertainty is far less. We take control by tying things down, boarding up windows, and buying a few days groceries. It is less panic and more preparation. People know what they need for hurricane season, but this virus is uncertain. We may be hard-wired to protect ourselves from threats, but when a threat has too much uncertainty, we are likely to witness unusual behaviours.

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Ken HughesKen Hughes is Europe’s leading Consumer & Shopper behaviouralist. He is a global thought leader in the areas of shopper psychology, consumer behaviour, shopper insight, demand-led retail technology, biometric shopper research and digital and omnichannel.

He is a part-time lecturer in Consumer Behaviour in University College Cork, and a regularly invited keynote speaker on the international industry conference circuit. His interests extend to neuromarketing and behavioural economics, with particular focus on their application to shopper motivation theory. Over the past 13 years, as founder and CEO of Glacier Consulting, he has pioneered developments in shopper behaviour insight, particularly in the fields of ethnography, endomethodology and biometric shopper research.

His presentations are inspirational, energetic and humorous, full of relevant case studies and Irish wit. His expertise, together with strong practical knowledge from his consultancy experience in Category Management and Shopper Marketing, results in a strong client base across retailers, suppliers and third party agencies.

Clients mainly include large international blue-chips: 3M, Heineken, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Walmart, AXA, Kerry Foods, Unilever, Mars Masterfoods, Nivea and GSK.

Ken Hughes has been voted as the best conference speaker at:

  • Innoday DLF Conference –Sweden
  • ECR Annual Conference  – Ireland
  • ECR Europe Global Conference – Belgium
  • Tecnomarketing AECOC – Spain 

Ken‘s speaking topics:

  • Sensory Retailing – Leveraging emotion and the 5 human senses to trigger incremental demand and engagement within CPG retail environments
  • Experiential Retailing – Changing the focus in retail from ‘places that sell things’ to a shopper experience that builds shopper loyalty
  • Shopper Irrationality: We’re All A Bit Crazy – Applying behavioural economics to shopper motivation and using an understanding of human and consumer psychology to trigger sales
  • Shopper Biometrics – The application of biometric measurement to shopper journey insight – literally inside the mind and body of the shopper

Contact us to engage Ken Hughes to speak at your next event.