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Most U.S. Consumers Have Felt Supply Chain Problems

Most U.S. Consumers Have Felt Supply Chain Problems

Story Highlights

  • Six in 10 unable in past two months to get a product because of shortages
  • Similar percentage have experienced significant delays in receiving product
  • Altogether, 71% have experienced at least one of these problems

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans have clearly felt the global supply chain disruptions wrought by COVID-19, with most reporting difficulty in receiving goods this summer. Sixty percent of U.S. adults say they have been unable to get a product they wanted in the past two months because of shortages, and 57% have experienced significant delays in receiving a product they ordered. Seven in 10 Americans overall have had at least one of these issues, while 46% have had both.

Americans' Recent Encounters With Supply Chain Disruptions
In the past two months, have you experienced any of the following when looking to buy certain products?
Inability to get a product due to shortages 60
Significant delays in receiving a product you ordered 57
Experienced one of the two problems 71
Experienced both problems 46
Gallup Panel, July 19-26, 2021

These findings are based on a July 19-26 Gallup survey, conducted by web using the nationally representative Gallup Panel. The same poll finds that 83% of adults have experienced "significant price increases" in the past two months, another byproduct of the COVID-19-related economic disruptions to manufacturing, shipping and labor supply.

Supply Chain Woes Hitting All Incomes and Regions

As would be expected, given the systemic nature of today's supply chain problems, similar percentages of Americans in all regions of the U.S. report having each of the three challenges tested in the survey.

Americans in upper-income households -- those earning $90,000 or more -- are more likely than lower-income adults to report experiencing significant delays in product shipments. This may indicate a greater likelihood on the part of wealthier adults to shop online. However, higher-income adults are no more likely than others to report being unable to get a product or noticing price increases.

Encounters With Supply Chain Disruptions, by Region and Income
Unable to get product
due to shortage
Significant delays in
receiving a product
price increases
% % %
U.S. adults 60 57 83
East 58 54 83
Midwest 60 58 79
South 61 56 83
West 62 58 84
Household income
$90,000 or more 62 63 82
$36,000 to $89,999 60 55 83
Less than $36,000 58 48 81
Gallup Panel, July 19-26, 2021


From the toilet paper shortage at the beginning of the pandemic to a car shortage today, Americans have experienced firsthand what it means when production constraints or a shortfall of critical manufacturing components means retailers can't keep up with demand.

Not only have supply chain disruptions contributed to rising prices and inconvenienced consumers, but with some healthcare and military supplies also affected, it poses a threat to national security.

U.S. policymakers across the political spectrum have taken note of the supply chain vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19 and are trying to correct them through renewed focus on U.S. manufacturing and trade policies. This could include "friendshoring," which would involve developing new supply chains with Central and South America to replace or supplement those with China.

In the wake of the pandemic, Americans may have a whole new perspective about such global trade discussions, recognizing the risks to national security that come with global interdependency as well as to their own way of life.

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