Survey Shows Retail Executives Fear Protectionism & Tariffs as US Election Draws Near
46% Expect to be Impacted by In-coming Trade Policies of Either Presidential Candidate; 68% Lack Supply Chain Flexibility to Adapt to In-coming Risk
New York, NY, September 14, 2016 – GT Nexus, an Infor company, announced today the results of a survey of more than 250 US retail executives gauging their concerns around the business impact of the upcoming US presidential election. The survey, conducted by YouGov in July 2016, shows 46% of retail executives expect to be impacted by tariffs and protectionist measures derived from the two candidates’ trade positions.
The survey results indicate the impact will be negative for retailers, their suppliers, and consumers. Forty-four percent of retailers expect higher cost of goods to emerge in their supply network due to antitrade policies.
- 22% expect higher risk of delays or disruptions
- 20% expect more red tape
- 17% expect challenges procuring materials and resources
“Trade sentiment in the US and globally has shifted away from free trade towards nationalist views,” said Guy Courtin, vice president of Industry & Solution Strategy at GT Nexus. “This sentiment has come to life in movements such as Brexit, and in the US it appears in the form of two candidates on opposite sides of the aisle that both lean against free trade. This survey calls out real concerns that retail executives have about the business impact of likely in-coming trade policies, including tariffs and protectionist measures.”
The results show retailers are unprepared to address the costs and friction likely to emerge from the trade policies of either candidate.
- 68% of retailers surveyed have no programs currently in place for supply chain agility and flexibility to address incoming trade risk
- Only 6% currently have programs in place to provide agility to proactively address risk
- Only 17% of retailers are very prepared to handle tariffs on imported goods
Most retail executives don’t have a handle on the volume of goods that can be adjusted geographically, according to the study. The majority (57%) said they don’t know the percentage of goods that can be adjusted to another region to counter protectionist measures.
Courtin added, “We cannot ignore macroeconomic factors such as anti-trade movements, tariffs and regulations. These impact not only retailers but consumers and the wider retail supply chain. This is yet another example of far-reaching risk and disruption that points to the need for greater visibility into the extended network. Few retailers today have supply chain visibility and agility to proactively course correct. Simply passing costs along to the end consumer is not a viable long-term strategy.”
When asked about ways to counter protectionism and tariff-related risks and costs, the study found:
- 36% of retailers plan to raise prices
- 27% of retailers plan to negotiate lower costs with suppliers
- 14% of retailers will cut out production costs
- 8% of retailers will move production to low tariff countries
The survey results point out that retail executives do see technology playing a major role in proactively combating tariffs and trade uncertainty.
- 24% say technology will provide better communication in the supply chain by connecting trading partners
- 23% say it will help better handle costs (assessing cost-to-serve scenarios, etc.)
- 23% say it will provide greater inventory agility and flexibility
- 17% say it will provide sourcing agility to avoid risks and costs (allow easy shifts in sourcing locations)
- 16% say it will improve risk assessment
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 271 adults, and fieldwork was carried out online July 25-31, 2016.
This press release is not intended to be an endorsement by GT Nexus and/or Infor of any political candidate or party.