Originally posted May 9, 2017 by Meaghan Brophy for Independent Retailer
Uncle Sam shoppers have always preferred American-made products. With the election of President Trump, the demand for Made in USA has only increased. According to a Consumer Reports® survey, almost eight in ten American consumers would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. 60 percent say they are even willing to pay ten percent more for the USA-made product. There are many reasons consumer prefer American-made products. For many, it’s a way to help the economy and support American businesses and American manufacturing. Many consumers, ‘Made in USA’ is also a symbol of excellence. According to a New York Times® survey, a majority of Americans perceive products that are made in America a being of a higher quality than those made overseas.
What does Made in USA Mean?
The Federal Trade Commission has regulations and requirements that must be met in order for a product to be labeled ‘Made in the USA.’ According to the FTC, at least 75 percent of the finished product must be ‘US content’ including parts and labor, based on the cost of the goods sold. The final assembly of the product must also take place in the United States. Though a “Made in USA” label should seem straightforward, it can become complicated for goods such as appliances, cars, and electronics that have many different parts and components. Essentially, for a product to be “Made in USA” there should be little to no foreign content and the final assembly or processing should take place within the 50 states.
What Took So Long?
If almost 80 percent of Americans prefer USA-made products, then why are there still so many products manufactured overseas? A lot of it comes down to cost. Labor costs can be significantly lower in other countries. Lower labor costs leads to lower costs for manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and at the end, consumers. Many shoppers have become accustomed to the low prices overseas manufacturing has afforded. However, over the last few years, minimum wages and labor costs have started to rise in many countries. Additionally, developments in robotics and automation technology are slowly leading to faster and more affordable manufacturing. On top of these market changes, President Trump is fueling his own “American Made” movement on both the consumer and manufacturing side of retail. Changes in other countries’ regulations coupled with President Trump’s commitment to American manufacturing will likely lead to not only an increase in demand for Made in USA products, but greater affordability for retailers and consumers alike.