Given a choice between a product made in the U.S. and an identical one made abroad, 78% of Americans would rather buy the American product, according to a new nationally representative survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
More than 80% of those people cited retaining manufacturing jobs and keeping American manufacturing strong in the global economy as very important reasons for buying American. About 60% cited concern about the use of child workers or other cheap labor overseas, or stated that American-made goods were of higher quality.
And people would pay extra to buy American. More than 60% of all respondents indicated they’d buy American-made clothes and appliances even if those cost 10% more than imported versions; more than 25% said they’d pay at least an extra 20%. (Perhaps more surprising: According to a new survey of consumers in the U.S. and abroad by the Boston Consulting Group, more than 60% of Chinese respondents said they’d buy the American-made version over the Chinese even if it were to cost more.)
Clearly, most Americans want to know where products are made and want to buy those that will help create or keep jobs in the U.S. And they are certainly right, all jobs and wages are interconnected, when we buy foreign goods (and sometimes there’s no choice) it means that fewer U.S. workers will have the money to buy the goods and services we sell.
Recent news coverage has noted that many US clothing companies don’t have any direct experience with their contract manufacturers and are often in the dark about working conditions. Others have said using overseas manufacturers is a good thing for the global economy since it provides jobs, but the real emphasis should be on fair trade, not moving manufacturing operations back to the US.
Viewpoints aside, there is business opportunity. If consumers start buying more domestically produced clothing, then US production might ramp up in response. Manufacturing might expand, and new competitors may even set up shop to gain their piece of market share. A recent Reuters article stated Wal-Mart pledged to spend $50 billion over 10 years buying American-made products (that’s not just apparel, by the way).
For many consumers, affordability has driven the bulk of purchasing decisions. Businesses in turn have ventured abroad for cheap labor and specific manufacturing skills to keep prices down.
What is driving big and small businesses to increase sourcing of U.S. products — beyond the obvious good PR?
In short, a shift in global manufacturing that is in the early stages. A combination of factors including rising labor costs are eroding China's cost advantage as an export platform for North America.
Mexico, meanwhile, is rebounding as a manufacturing base, and wages there will be significantly lower than in China, according to a Boston Consulting Group report. By 2015, BCG forecasts that for many goods destined for North American consumers, manufacturing in some parts of the U.S. will be just as economical as manufacturing in China.
For years, the main attraction of China outsourcing has been access to low-cost labor. But pile on related business costs such as transportation of goods, duties and industrial real-estate expenses, and the global manufacturing landscape is no longer China-dependent.
Domestic manufacturing, meanwhile, is on the mend. The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector picked up to its fastest rate in more than a year and a half in February, as new orders continued to accelerate.
And imported goods, at least in footwear and apparel, are retreating slightly. While more than 97% of apparel and 98% of shoes sold in the U.S. are made overseas. U.S. imports in those two categories in 2011 declined for the first time ever since such data has been tracked by the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
But still, sales and promotions are dragging local producers to buy overseas. Or else they would not have any profit at all. Therefore, is purchasing only during SALES helping american made products?.....We do not think so...If we want american business to take pride, we should support them!