Unilever reports sales drop in Q4 due to Middle East conflict boycotts

Unilever has joined the list of corporations facing a challenging fourth quarter due to boycotts linked to the conflict in the Middle East.

The maker of household names like Vaseline, Dove soaps, and Rexona deodorant reported a 15% drop in sales in Indonesia during the final quarter of last year.

The decline in Indonesian sales was attributed to “a consumer shift away from multinational brands amid the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East,” Unilever mentioned in a statement. In countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, home to over 200 million Muslims, there has been a notable boycott of Western firms accused of supporting or being associated with Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Unilever’s CEO, Hein Schumacher, noted in a Thursday call that “the fourth quarter saw a significant sales downturn in Indonesia, as our brands and those of other multinationals faced backlash from consumer boycotts focused on geopolitical issues.” Similar sentiments have been echoed by other corporations facing boycotts abroad.

McDonald’s disclosed on Monday a “meaningful business impact” in the Middle East due to the conflict. Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut, reported that the Middle East conflict “adversely affected sales, influencing same-store sales growth negatively in multiple nations.” Similarly, Starbucks announced reduced earnings attributed to comparable reasons.