Global Trends about Peak Globalization

Globalization may be enjoying increased popularity after the Covid-19 pandemic focused people on their local areas 

Global Trends about Peak Globalization

Globalization may be enjoying increased popularity after the Covid-19 pandemic focused people on their local areas

The world remains divided on the benefits of globalization. Increasing travel, greater cultural exchange and the rise of cheap products (facilitated by low labor costs and developed international supply chains) represent significant benefits to many. However, the dilution of local cultures, perceived lifestyle homogenization, increased consumerism, rising emissions and faster habitat loss are all among the significant impacts of globalization.

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Many commentators feel that we have already reached peak globalization and are moving to a world where protectionist policies, shorter, more secure supply chains, and a greater focus on nationality and local community will create a smaller, less globalized landscape. We at Ipsos are less sure.

Over the 1990s and 2000s, cheap labor in Asia coupled with relatively inexpensive, reliable global shipping drove consumerism and fueled the march of globalization. The growth of the middle classes in China drove up labor costs, governments focused on more lucrative industrial sectors, and manufacturers switched to other offshore markets. COVID-19 and global conflicts put huge pressure on global supply chains and forced manufacturers and retailers to prioritize resilience and agility of supply through tactics like nearshoring and friendshoring.

Having found more stable supply chains out of necessity, many people have come to appreciate the benefits of these (their reliability, lower cost, shorter lead times and lower environmental impact) and consumers have started to adopt a more local-first attitude. It is clear, though, that attitudes to globalization are strongly linked to the economic development of nations and the living standards of their populations: of the top 20 countries ranked in terms of how much they feel that globalization is ‘good for my country’, ten are in Asia, six in Latin America and three in Middle East/Africa. Only one (New Zealand) falls outside these emerging regions.

For corporations, the issue is complicated by the need to balance lower production costs with unstable supply chains: the outcome is an effort to stabilize supply via nearshoring, often presented as an effort to support local communities.

In all but five markets, a majority feel that globalisation is a force for good

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Our report tells a story from the topline data. For technical details, please see the full methodology. For a deeper dive into demographic differences, regional analysis and sector- or market-specific insights please contact us for a custom analysis of this incredibly rich data source.