Should companies be focusing efforts on sourcing and producing American-made goods? A new survey of American shoppers points to no, at least if it means the cost of doing so will hike up the price of the end product.
As much as shoppers say they are interested in where and how the products they buy are made, a new poll by The Associated Press and GFK shows there may be a limit for how much conscious consumers care. The vast majority of Americans said they would rather pay a lower price for a product than spend more on an item made in the United States.
Of the Americans surveyed, 71% said that while they would like to buy goods manufactured in the U.S., these items are often too expensive or difficult to find. An additional 17% said they did not feel strongly enough about buying “Made in the USA” items and just 9% said they only buy domestically made goods.
The AP and GFK poll also gave respondents a real-world example: chose between a $50 pair of foreign-made pants or an $85 pair of pants made in the U.S. While produced in different countries, both products have the same design and fabric. A total of 67% of Americans said they would buy the cheaper pair of pants. Thirty percent said they would buy the more expensive, American-made pair.
An additional finding was that income doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to who buys American-made goods. People with household incomes of more than $100,000 are not any more likely to pay more for U.S. products than people of lower income, the AP and GFK reported.
The data was part of the AP-GFK’s poll that focused more broadly on the U.S. economy and trade. However, it is also among a number of reports showing that while consumers show interest in putting more thought into the purchases they make, they don’t follow through. For instance, a Nielsen report showed 40% of North American consumers were interested in buying products from socially responsible brands, fewer actually checked the tags or labels on the products to find out about the company that made the item or its practices. And, a study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology showed more than 85% of those surveyed chose not to find out about the sourcing efforts behind different brands of jeans.