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04/06/2021

SAP: COVID-19 causes lasting supply chain issues for shoppers

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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supply chain diagram

As the pandemic enters its second year, consumers are changing behaviors in response to supply chain disruptions. 

In February 2021, SAP surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers to identify some of their biggest supply chain pain points. More than one-third (35%) of respondents said their favorite grocers and retailers are still dealing with out-of-stock issues. Seven in 10 respondents switched brands during the pandemic due to supply chain issues, and almost three in 10 (29%) never went back.

With close to four in 10 (37%) respondents saying they have lost confidence in supply chains, it is not surprising that the survey indicates growing shifts in consumer buying trends. For example, close to half (48%) of respondents have changed buying habits due to the pandemic, such as buying more items in bulk or restocking household items earlier than before.

According to SAP, this shift in consumer behavior directly impacts quantities and the frequency of restocking items, which affects retail sourcing strategies.

Respondents are also concerned about lack of product supply in 2021, including food (48%), hygienic or personal care products, such as toilet paper (44%), and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks (33%).

In addition, respondents are very aware of potential coming inventory shortages, with 84% noting they are concerned about electronic component shortages (microchips), which SAP advises are critical to producing goods varying from smartphones to automobiles.