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Posted: June 2, 2021
Category: Spotlight on Business

Americans Prefer Products Made in the U.S.A.

One of today’s hot topics is American-made products. We see “deals of the day” promoted on talk shows and are aware of heated debates among politicians in the nation’s capital. Everyone has an opinion about this popular movement. The shutdowns resulting from Covid-19 have created a sense of urgency. Supporting small businesses in jeopardy of permanently closing resonates with Americans determined to help owners keep their doors open. People are on a mission to buy local products and anything displaying a Made in U.S.A. label. Although the trend has been growing for several years, consumers struggled with paying higher prices for American-made goods.

However, many people are now willing to pay higher prices to “buy American.” According to a September 2020 opinion poll conducted by The Reshoring Institute, slightly more than 70 percent of respondents said they prefer products Made in the U.S.A. More than 82 percent of them are willing to pay up to 20 percent more.

The poll results align with research conducted previously by Consumers Reports regarding how Americans feel about merchandise produced and sold in this country.

  • 78 percent would buy an American-made product rather than an identical imported item if given a choice
  • Eighty percent want to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
  • More than 60 percent would pay a higher price to buy American

Corporate Behavior Matters to Consumers

For consumers, buying American is a conscious choice based on personal preferences. They value transparency and want to find information about products easily. Americans perceive that products made in this country are of better quality and can be trusted to meet their high standard. People expect when companies claim products are made in the U.S.A., they are truthful. Clarity and complete disclosure are essential to building trusted relationships with purchasers. However, Consumer Reports also indicates respondents want companies they do business with to positively impact society.

  • 92 percent of respondents are likely to shop with a company that supports the local community
  • 90 percent of those surveyed make buying decisions based on how well workers are treated
  • 79 percent consider the company’s environmental practices
  • 78 percent want to know if the company is foreign or American owned

More Companies Returning to the U.S.

In 1979 there were 19.5 million manufacturing jobs, by 2000 that figure dropped to 17.3 million. Another 5.8 million jobs were lost by 2010. Deeply concerned about the continued decline in manufacturing jobs, Harry Moser, retired president of GF AgieCharmilles, L.L.C., founded the Reshoring Initiative. His mission was to facilitate the return of offshore manufacturing to the U.S. by providing companies with resources and information to make better sourcing decisions. The initiative focuses on the price of goods and the hidden costs associated with offshoring. According to the Reshoring Initiative’s annual report, more companies are returning to the U.S. The report concludes, “The revised rate of reshoring plus Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) job announcements in 2019 was up about 2000 percent from 2010. The 600,000+ jobs brought back represent about 5 percent of U.S. manufacturing employment. The acceleration of jobs coming back combined with the decline in the rate of offshoring has resulted in a plateauing of the goods trade deficit at about $800 billion/year. The COVID crisis has revealed the U.S.’s overdependence on imports.