Most Americans say they understand supply chain issues — but 4 in 10 can’t even define it

NEW YORK — A survey testing Americans’ knowledge about basic economic terms, reveals that although seven in 10 are “confident” in their understanding of supply chain issues – only 59 percent actually know what the term means.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of WithSecure, the study of 2,000 U.S. adults also examines respondents’ perspectives on supply chain issues. Forty-five percent say the issues have “somewhat affected” their lives – from impacting their cost of living, to impacting their jobs and finding basic essentials. To that end, nearly half of Americans say their essentials include digital devices, as 48 percent can’t live without their electronics and 46 percent say Wi-Fi is a necessity. Other essentials – besides food and water – that people can’t go without includes medicine (55%), electricity (53%), and gasoline (51%).

“Baby formula is really hard for me to find,” comments one respondent. Another notes, “I had to cut back on spending so much on groceries.”

On average, Americans buy a third of their essentials online, with respondents between 35 and 44 being the most likely to get at least half of their must-haves this way. However, the research suggests that brighter days may be on the horizon. Two in five people are optimistic that the situation involving global supply chain disruptions will get better.

Unfortunately, change doesn’t happen overnight: A third of respondents predict supply chain disruptions will continue for another two years (34%). While 30 percent think supply chain issues will remain the same, the same percentage believe things will only worsen (30%).

1 in 3 people don’t understand inflation

Regarding supply and demand, less than half of respondents knew that it determines product prices and services in a free market (41%), while only 45 percent think it determines gas prices.

The majority of people, however, have a better understanding of what inflation and recession mean, with 64 percent and 57 percent selecting the correct definition, respectively.

Across the board, respondents of all generations stay informed when it comes to economic issues such as the supply chain and inflation. While older Americans are most likely to look to the internet or TV for news about politics and major events, a significant amount of younger respondents interestingly get their news through sources like podcasts or newspapers, keeping most up to date about technology and finance.

supply chain

51% say getting hacked would ruin their lives

The research also delved into the connection between the global supply chain and cybersecurity. Experts say organizations are especially at risk when there are economic issues.

“Large companies have tens of thousands of suppliers in their supply chains; attacks are increasing and no industry is off limits,” says Paul Brucciani, cyber security advisor at WithSecure, in a statement. “Every individual working in a supply chain is a potential target. Companies can reduce supply risk by helping employees and suppliers understand how they might be exposed, and how they can protect themselves.”

When it comes to their personal data, 37 percent admit they feel “somewhat secure” about their cloud storage system. Respondents cite some advantages of having a data cloud storage system, such as backup and recovery (51%), security (42%), and easy access (41%). Others say they value privacy (37%), reliability (36%), and having the cloud on multiple devices (33%).

Although the cloud can be helpful, survey-takers also note some of the disadvantages that put cloud-users at risk, including hacking (48%) and phishing (33%) from outside sources, technical problems (44%), and data loss (38%).

With these pros and cons in mind, 51 percent agree they would be ruined if they ever got hacked or phished, especially since they have sensitive content stored there (46%).

“Three-quarters of breaches can be prevented by using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication and being alert to suspicious emails,” Brucciani says. “Having effective cyber security measures in place, and always backing up your date, will reduce much of the risk and should be our first priority.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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