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Puerto Rico residents have bleak outlook on current situation, future

A study commissioned by the Puerto Rico Sales and Marketing Executives Association (SME, in Spanish) revealed that 78% of Puerto Rico residents believe that quality of life on the island is worse now than it was five years ago.

Of that group, 84% are women mostly between 55 and 64 years of age, as well as single parents.

The “Citizens and Brands with Purpose” study, carried out by economic analysis firm Estudios Técnicos, also revealed that the main problems identified are related to energy, economy, violence and access to health services, Anitza M. Cox-Marrero, director of Estudios Técnicos’ analysis and policies division.

As citizens, 91% of them said they believe it is important to have alternatives for participation in the decisions that are made in the island to address the social, economic, and environmental problems that affect the population.

However, only 14% feel satisfied with the opportunities they are given to participate in the decision-making processes related to the problems that affect Puerto Rico.

The brands that consumers identified as committed to addressing these issues include Walmart, Econo, Coca-Cola, Walgreens, Burger King, Goya, and Triple S, the study showed.

The methodology used for the study consisted of surveying 500 people in their homes from Oct. 1-17, The sample was representative of the 18+ population in Puerto Rico by gender, age, and income level. The margin of error was +/-4.3%, with a 95% confidence level, Cox explained.

Regarding the impact of COVID-19, 57.2% said to have faced difficulties in their homes, with one of the greatest impacts being problems related to the family’s emotional health. When evaluating the response of the different sectors to COVID-19, the best evaluated sectors were nonprofit organizations and the federal government, getting a median grade of “B,” while citizens, local government, municipalities, and private companies got an average grade of “C.”

Meanwhile, the island’s social, economic, and environmental situation has prompted changes in consumer behavior, including that 62% of people tend to spend more time examining product labels. Among the main aspects they look at are nutrition and health information, quality seals, and organic ingredients, Cox stated.

Sixty five percent seek to consume locally made products, and value international brands, businesses or companies that, although not local, identify with Puerto Rico. Likewise, 62% consider that locally made products are of better quality. Among the brands that they identify as those that support locally produced goods are Econo, Walmart, Wendy’s, Goya, Sam’s Club, Hecho en Puerto Rico and Medalla.

“When a brand is aligned with their principles and values, more than half [of the people] recommend it to other people, they look for products or services, even if they are harder to find and even in a difficult economic context, they’re willing to pay a little more for them,” said Cox.

Regarding the commitment of the brands to attend to the island’s problems and needs, 42.4% of the people surveyed believe that there are causes or problems that the business sector should be supporting and are falling short. These include: the island’s electric power system, employment, improvement of wages and job conditions, and issues related to the environment.

However, the consumer was very aware of the issue of inclusion since eight out of 10 respondents would like to see more people with functional diversity and black people in commercials and advertising efforts.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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