SAP Finds Eight in Ten UK Consumers Want Brands to Support Local Suppliers

SAP SE has released research findings that show changing consumer understanding and demands of brands’ supply chains. The survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by market research and insight agency Opinium, found that 83% would be more likely to buy from a brand that supports and sources from local suppliers, and 83% would also be willing to compromise for ethically sourced products.

At a time when both global and local supply chains face seemingly constant disruption,

  • Nearly three-quarters of UK shoppers (73%) say they have experienced difficulties finding or buying products over the past two years.
  • 79% now say they are more aware of how supply chains impact availability of products than before the pandemic.
  • Staff shortages (63%) and trade-deal-related issues (49%) top the list as reasons consumers believe there have been problems.
  • Almost a quarter (22%) go beyond citing macroeconomic events and say that brands are overreliant on sourcing goods from one country.
  • A further fifth (19%) blame companies for not properly planning ahead.

Consumers now say they will change their shopping habits based on a brand’s supply chain practices, arguably as a direct result of this deeper knowledge and awareness. For example,

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) would be willing to compromise on having less choice.
  • 67% would wait longer to receive their goods.
  • Over half (55%) would pay more for ethically sourced goods.

On the whole, 18- to 34-year-olds are more willing to compromise than those over 35 on cost (69% vs. 49%), on having less chance to return (60% vs. 33%), and even on receiving a lower-quality good or service (48% vs. 19%).

Consumers are more willing to make compromises on convenience products such as shampoo and coffee (44%) and specialty products like perfume and clothing (45%) than they are on luxury goods like cars and watches (38%).

“The data shows that a greater understanding of the impact of supply chains is influencing what consumers expect from brands,” said Henrik Smedberg, head of Intelligent Spend Management, UKI, SAP. “With one in four consumers planning to purchase more items manufactured in the United Kingdom and a similar number aiming to buy products that are easily recycled or reused this Christmas, retail supply chains must be agile to meet these consumer demands. It’s not only the right thing to do, but brands that don’t could suffer, as consumers will actively seek out brands that do.”

To meet changing consumer demands, businesses must ensure they have full visibility into their supply chains and access to the right data to make informed decisions about who to do business with. In the report, a lack of technology investment by companies is cited by a small number of consumers as a reason for supply chain shortages over recent months. This points to the growing awareness that cloud-based technologies can provide the transparency needed to assess and collaborate with trading partners, allowing organizations to align spend decisions with their strategy and purpose.

The research study was conducted between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, 2021 on a sample of 2,000 UK adults, weighted to nationally representative criteria.

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