Tatjana S. Mamula Nikolić, Karolina R. Perčić, Mirjana D. Nećak

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The influence of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world and COVID-19 pandemic on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector has been significant. The objective of this paper is to analyze the consumer buying behavior during the COVID-19 crisis and its implications on future intentions, so as to propose the potential options for the development of new strategies according to the customers’ needs. Changes in consumer habits in the world and in Serbia are reviewed. The online consumer survey was conducted in Serbia April 23-29, 2020. The survey sample included 510 respondents. Quantitative statistical methods were used for analysis: descriptive and comparative statistics (χ2 test, regression, correlation). The survey data are comparable, in some segments, with the results of the McKinsey & Company survey conducted in 22 countries across the world. The results of empirical research indicate that consumer buying habits have changed in terms of consumption structure and purchasing methods. MSMEs with the strategic marketing orientation, aware of the customers’ needs in turbulent environment, are more capable to be innovative and have more chances to be competitive. Doing business in the time of the pandemic has opened new opportunities for business renovation via e-commerce. The contribution of the paper is a set of recommendations for MSMEs on how to gain competitiveness and visibility in the digital market. It is recommended to improve e-commerce in Serbia, based on the research results. They confirm that consumers are increasingly adopting new technologies and that the processes of innovation and digital transformation are in general getting significantly faster, so they represent an opportunity and condition for the work of Serbian MSMEs in the future new normal.


COVID-19, crisis, consumers, MSMEs, innovation

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