Study: Consumers favor ‘Made in USA’ products over sustainability

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 339 views 

American consumers continue to rally their support around “Made in USA” products with 45% admitting that such a label is “extremely” or “very” important to them, according to a new survey by Fayetteville-based Field Agent.

The mobile research study was conducted with 500 U.S. adults spanning all income brackets and educational levels ahead of what will be the country’s 239th birthday on July 4.

Field Agent reports that nearly 8 in 10 of those surveyed expressed that buying “American Made” products was at least moderately important to them, with just 11% of respondents admitting that buying products “Made in the USA” was not important in their shopping decisions. The overwhelming majority of consumers who do identify with the products made in America said they consider it important to shop at stores that also demonstrate a commitment to American-made goods.

“Americans say they value those products, brands and retailers that choose to make and/or sell goods made here at home. If the price is right and the quality is there why wouldn’t consumer’s choose American-made products,” said Field Agent CEO Rick West.

It’s easy for consumers to talk patriotism but voting with their dollars is another matter, which is why Field Agent asked the respondents if they ever purchased one product over another because they preferred the American-made. In all, 63% answered “yes” which suggests that the American-made designation does have the ability to steer attention away from one product or brand and onto another, the study notes.

That said, respondents also said many times identifying American-made products is difficult. More than not, the respondents believe retailers could do a better job displaying  American-made merchandise. West said there are opportunities for retailers to display American-made products much like they have drawn attention to organic and gluten-free items.

Another finding in the study is that “Made in America” is not the top priority among shoppers today, but it does rank in the top five behind quality, price, customer service experience but ahead of sustainability concerns.

“Retailers today have to know that American-made product labeling and displays could be the tipping point for more product sales, in much the same way it was ‘green-minded’ or sustainable items over the past few years,” West said.

He reiterated that if the competitive price and quality are there in an American-made product, consumers will likely chose it over a like product made elsewhere – at least at a time when there is more awareness and effort being made to create and support American jobs.

Consumers aren’t just showing patriotism by buying American-made products, they are also planning to celebrate the nation’s birthday in a big way this year.

In a separate report by National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 156 million Americans plan to take part in Independence Day celebrations spending an average of $71.23 per household, a few bucks more than last year. Americans are expected to dole out $6.6 billion this weekend around Independence Day celebrations. Higher spending is linked to lower gasoline prices compared to year ago.

"Consumers this summer and for the 4th of July will take advantage of lower gas prices to head to the beach or get together with family — something they've had to think long and hard about in recent years with higher energy costs and limited budgets," said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at Prosper Insights.

About 43% of Americans will watch fireworks or attend other community events. Another 12% will go to a parade and 9% have planned to travel or take a vacation.