(Bloomberg) -- Consumers are increasingly taking politics into account when making purchasing decisions, according to a new report tracking the corporate impact from wars, divisive elections and other challenges.

The number of respondents who said they buy, choose or avoid brands based on their politics rose 2 percentage points to 60% since last year, according to the latest edition of the annual Trust Barometer report from public relations firm Edelman. More than 71% of consumers surveyed said businesses should take sides on controversial issues. 

The sixth edition of the online survey polled 15,000 consumers in 15 countries, including France, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US. With countries that are home to more than half the world’s population participating in elections this year, 79% of respondents said the outcome of these ballots is their top concern. 

More than one in three people surveyed globally say they’re boycotting brands that are seen as supporting a side in the war in Gaza, the report found. 

In the US, almost one in two consumers believe that half or more brands have a political alignment, topping the view in India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

Many everyday brand actions can be seen as political, Edelman said in its report. Although businesses that are seen as supporting one side can lose support from consumers on the other, many people are also boycotting brands that stay silent. More than half of consumers said that if a brand doesn’t say how it is addressing societal issues they assume it’s doing nothing or hiding something. 

The shift to the right in some countries is reflected in the results, with 61% of respondents in France who identified with the political right saying they would buy French brands over foreign brands — more than a year ago. 

 

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