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Survey Says: Who will pay more for Made in the USA?

Everyone says they are willing to pay more for products made in the USA, but is that true? According to the results of a new survey from Boston Consulting Group, more than 80% of U.S. consumers say that they are willing to pay more for products labeled “Made in USA.” However, even more surprising is the fact that 60% of Chinese consumers say that they are also willing to pay more for “Made in USA”-labeled products than for products labeled “Made in China.”

Clare Goldsberry

November 16, 2012

3 Min Read
Survey Says: Who will pay more for Made in the USA?

In September, BCG surveyed more than 5000 consumers in the U.S., China, Germany, and France regarding their attitudes toward the value of the Made in USA brand and their actual buying behavior. The results reveal that U.S. consumers will pay a premium for the Made in USA brand across a broad range of product categories, although the premium varies significantly depending on the category.
Some of the findings in BCG’s survey include:

  • About two-thirds of U.S. consumers are will to pay a premium for 10 key product categories that were tested—from baby food and appliances to electronics and apparel.   

  • The premium they are willing to pay varies, ranging from about 10% to more than 60% in the categories tested.

  • In every one of the 10 categories, at least 20% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay a premium of more than 10%.

  • Nearly 60% of U.S. consumers had chosen Made in USA products over less-expensive Chinese goods at least once in the month before the survey.

In surveying Chinese consumers, BCG found a similar willingness to pay more for U.S.-made goods. The results showed the following:

  • More than 60% of Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for Made In USA goods.

  • Nearly 50% of Chinese consumers prefer a product made in the U.S. to a China-made product of equivalent price and quality.

  • The premium that Chinese consumers are willing to pay ranges from about 10% to almost 80% in the categories tested.

  • More than half had chosen U.S.-made products over less-expensive Chinese goods at least once in the month before the survey.

This may be of interest to those on a Reshoring LinkedIn site who recently have been debating the question, “What is Made in America worth?” started by Silvia Leahn-Aluas. Well, apparently according to the BCG survey, it’s worth quite a bit.

Michael Zinser, a BCG partner who leads the firm’s manufacturing work in the Americas and co-author of the Made in America, Again series, commented, “The higher brand value of U.S.-made goods is a further reason why companies should rethink their global manufacturing footprint and consider the U.S. as a manufacturing location.”

BCG’s recent findings support previous BCG analysis showing that the U.S. is becoming increasingly attractive as a location for making certain products for the U.S. market and as a base for global exports. The U.S. has improved its cost competitiveness compared with China and the advanced economies of Western Europe and Japan, leading BDG to estimate that higher U.S. exports—combined with production “reshored from China—could created 2.5 million to 5 million new U.S. jobs in manufacturing and related services by the end of the decade.

Harold L. Sirkin, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the research, said, “These findings suggest that there’s a big opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to command a price premium by promoting the Made in USA brand—not only in the U.S. but also in China. Retailers may want to adjust their strategies to capitalize on the strong consumer interest.”

For those of you who are always saying that you can’t find what you need or want with a Made in USA label, and therefore must buy certain products made in China, I suggest you just look around. Go to different stores where Made In USA is more prevalent. I’ve done that and know the stores that tend to carry more of the Made In USA brands, and have also found that many of the products I buy are extremely price competitive with those made in China, so having to pay a premium isn’t even an issue.

Also look online. There’s a website (www.americanmadematters.com) that carries made-in-the-USA goods, thanks to Jill Worth, social media and marketing person with The Rodon Group, who put that on LinkedIn recently.

With the holiday gift-giving season upon us, try to buy made in the USA. It will be the gift that will keep on giving—more jobs, a better economy, and a stronger manufacturing industry.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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