A year and a half after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the effects of the ongoing health crisis continue to leave lasting impacts on nearly every aspect of daily life.
Cloud application provider Oracle revealed in a new report that the vast majority of Americans (87%) have felt negative effects from the supply chain issues of the past year, including many who saw shortages on certain items (60%), had to cancel orders due to delays (51%) and began rationing essential items they already had, concerned that they’d run out (40%).
Because these issues are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, 82% of respondents worry that problems with the supply chain will ruin life plans such as holidays, birthdays and trips.
Pandemic-era supply chain issues are now top of mind for most Americans
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems that few people gave thought to the impact that the supply chain had on their daily lives — in the Oracle survey, 45% of respondents say the idea never crossed their mind until the pandemic. But that has all changed over the past year though, as 91% now take the supply chain into account when they make a purchase.
Specifically, two-thirds of survey respondents expressed concern that supply chain disruptions will ruin their holidays — a valid point, especially as 48% of all Americans plan to spend more than they usually do on gifts this year to make up for the previous holiday season. But the ongoing issues with the supply chain may cause many to rethink their gift lists, since 92% of consumers are scared that they won't be able to buy what they need as a result.
And because nearly all Americans (92%) believe that disruptions in the supply chain will happen again, almost the same amount (91%) expect to change their buying behavior to account for these issues. Specifically, some of the actions they plan on taking include:
- Buying in bulk and stocking up on items (49%)
- Purchasing gifts earlier to allow for delays (45%)
- Paying closer attention to global shortages of items they use often (40%)
- Preordering whenever possible (39%)
- Shop more in-person than online (31%)
Shoppers want retailers to be upfront if supply chain disruptions impact their purchases
Oracle also discovered that although brands are also at the mercy of supply chain disruptions, they may lose customers and revenue if they aren't transparent about what goes on behind the scenes.
A survey from shipping firm Pitney Bowes found that retailers that offer delivery guarantees are often perceived to be better by consumers, while 81% of Oracle's respondents say they're willing to pay more to ensure smooth and timely delivery of their orders. However, brands may want to be careful with the promises they make to customers, especially during this unpredictable time — a majority of consumers say they would:
- Cancel their order if it was delayed (84%)
- Stop buying from a brand entirely because of delays or shortages (80%)
- Stop buying from a brand after one to three delays or disruptions (58%)
Still, the majority of shoppers are sympathetic to the plight companies are experiencing right now, as 91% of respondents say they understand that these are complex issues. But if brands want to be successful during this time, being upfront with their customers may take them far. According to the survey, 94% of consumers say they want more support from retailers — which could be provided by taking steps like:
- Providing more regular updates about shipping status (63%)
- Being more transparent about inventory (59%)
- Being more transparent about potential supply chain issues (54%)
- Offering refunds if items are delayed or canceled (56%)
- Offering discounts if items are delayed or canceled (52%)
Methodology: DKC Analytics conducted and analyzed a sample of 1,000 US adult consumers from Pollfish between Sept. 9 and Sept. 10, 2021. Participant ages and locations were weighted during the sampling process to reflect the U.S. adult population, while gender was weighted to create an even split. No other weighting was done to the sample.