What is DigiConsumers?


DigiConsumers brings together different disciplines and stakeholders

The factors influencing the consumption and economic behaviour of young people have been studied across numerous disciplines, but the information is fragmented and there is still much to uncover about the effects of digitalisation on consumption and economic behaviour and how these are learned.

The aim of the project is to develop new types of tools and learning methods to improve the financial skills of young people in digital environments.

The multidisciplinary consortium will use theories and methodologies in the fields of sociology, psychology, education, economics, information systems science and cognitive science in cooperation with societal, commercial and political institutions.

The study focuses on three main questions:

1. How is digital technology changing young people’s consumer cultures and financial behavior, and which social and cognitive-affective factors have an impact on consumption? What kinds of challenges and advantages technological development has brought forth?

2. What kinds of educational tools are needed for educational institutes, families and policy makers to improve young people’s financial and digital skills and consumer competence?

3. How to improve the ethical conduct of digital marketing and online services targeted to young people, in order to create a socially, ethically and economically sustainable consumer society?

SRC CULT 20192025

DigiConsumers is a research project funded by the Strategic Research Council operating in connection with the Academy of Finland as a part of the Culture in an Increasingly Technologically Driven Society CULT (2019–2025) programme.

The CULT programme seeks to provide solutions to support the interaction between technological development, institutional and organisational structures and different cultures in a way that allows everyone to be involved in an increasingly multicultural and technologically driven society.

Work package leaders:

Terhi-Anna Wilska, Professor, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Panu Kalmi, Professor, University of Vaasa, School of Accounting and Finance

Kirsti Lonka, Professor, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences

Arto Ahonen, University of Jyväskylä, Finnish Institute for Educational Research

Olli-Pekka Ruuskanen, Director of Research, Pellervon taloustutkimus PTT

Eija Seppänen, Communications Coordinator, Nuorten yrittäjyys ja talous NYT

Advisory Board Members:

Joyce Serido, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Annamaria Lusardi, Professor, GW Business School

Lars-Erik Malmberg, Professor, University of Oxford

Lauri Frank, Senior Researcher, University of Jyväskylä

Jenni Hellström, Head of Communications, Bank of Finland

Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Finnish Commerce Federation

Anu Raijas, Senior Adviser, Bank of Finland/Project Manager, Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority

Juha Pantzar, Managing Director, Guarantee Foundation

Pirjo K. KuuselaCorporate Social Responsibility Manager, Nordea Bank


What is CoronaConsumers?

The aim of the CoronaConsumers research project is to focus on the challenges generated by the COVID-19 pandemic regarding consumption and economic conditions of young adult consumers, specifically in the case of digital consumer environments.

In such unprecedented times it is imperative to find tools for increasing the social, economic and mental resilience of young adults (aged 18-29) in the economic turmoil brought on by the coronavirus. As our previous studies have shown, young adults have been especially susceptible to the economic hardships and challenges caused by past economic crises as mass unemployment lowered both the incomes and general well-being of young adults.

The preliminary results of our findings have shown that young adults are at a notably higher risk for becoming unemployed compared to other age groups. It has also been observed that young people are more distressed about their economic situation than other respondents.

Because of the coronavirus crisis, young people with low income and low digital skills will become increasing vulnerable. However, the constructive and innovative ways that young people have been shown to use social media may enhance young people’s resilience during the corona-crisis.

The main topics of interest in this project

will be young adults’ consumption patterns, financial behaviour and the economic situation changes during and after the coronavirus-crisis. Our research will take a comparative approach with other age groups. Additionally, data will be collected from Sweden (in association with the University of Gothenburg), where the public actions to mitigate the COVID-19 epidemic have been somewhat different in comparison to Finland.

Furthermore, the influence of the digitalisation of consumption and everyday life on the social and economic resilience of young adults will be examined in a pursuit to see how the constructive use of digital environments can be improved and what are the challenges and opportunities present in the digitalised consumer society when managing the social and economic problems of the young adult generation of today.

The efforts and outputs of this research will increase awareness about the effects of the coronavirus-crisis on the economic positions, consumption habits, and behaviours in digital environments of young people.