Unilever faced a rough fourth quarter as a result of boycotts over the war in the Middle East. The company, which produces Vaseline, Dove soaps, Rexona deodorant and other household items, saw a 15% sales decline in Indonesia in the three months prior to the end of last year. This was due to consumers avoiding brands of multinational companies in response to geopolitical situations in the Middle East.
Consumers in predominantly Islamic countries, such as Indonesia, have been boycotting Western companies that they perceive as supporting or having ties to Israel’s conflict in Gaza. More than 200 million Muslims live in Indonesia, and they have been making efforts to avoid goods from Western companies. The CEO of Unilever addressed the sales decline, stating that the fourth quarter saw a double-digit decline in sales, which was affected by geopolitically focused consumer campaigns against multinational companies.
Other companies have released similar statements about overseas boycotts. McDonald’s said it’s facing a “meaningful business impact” in the Middle East due to the war. Yum! Brands, the owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, stated that their sales were impacted by the conflict in the Middle East region with varying degrees of impact. Starbucks also reported lower earnings because of similar reasons.