July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 32 of 68

Does Made in America Matter? Made in 3 0 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 NAVIGATING END-USER BELIEFS AND HABITS K R I S T I N E S H R E V E I f you listen to politicians and the media, it often sounds like Americans care deeply about purchasing and sourcing products that are made in the USA, but is that really the case? How important is this issue for consumers? Does price trump patriotism and the desire to support American made products? And what does "Made in America" actually mean? A MATTER OF IMPORTANCE Let's start with the importance of this issue for your customers. A 2015 survey from Consumer Reports showed that nearly eight out of 10 Americans would prefer to buy a product that was made in the United States over a product that was imported. The same study also showed that 60% of those con- sumers would be willing to pay 10% more for a product that was made in America. A Reuters/Ipsos poll done in July of 2018 showed that 70% of Americans felt it was "very important" or "somewhat important" to buy goods made in America, but only 21% of those people said they would be willing to pay 10% more for an American made product and only 7% said they would be willing to pay 50% more. Clearly, there's a gap between what consumers say they want and what they actually do. Clear evidence of that is the popularity of Walmart and stores like it. Many of the products available from Walmart are in- expensive, but that's because they're made overseas where labor and materials are cheaper. While Walmart has spearheaded an initiative to purchase more products from U.S. manufacturers and has made some progress on that goal, the fact remains that at least 1/3 (some sources say 70% to 80%) of their inventory comes from foreign sources. If you've ever been to a Walmart, you know that 1/3 is still a lot of merchan- dise. And all that merchandise is being pur- chased by American customers every day.

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