Change is in the air. News about companies outside of apparel bringing their manufacturing back to the U.S. is increasing. One of the largest clothing manufacturers in the U.S., American Apparel, was just purchased by Gildan, a Canada-based company; and we are preparing for the inauguration of a new U.S. president. This is both an exciting and uncertain time for domestic manufacturing. The next four years could play a major role in the ‘Made in the USA’ sentiment.
American pride is evident in today’s consumerism. Americans are expressing their national pride, and looking for ‘Made in the USA’ labels on the products they buy. Nearly eighty percent of shoppers said it is important to them to some degree, with almost half (44 percent) stating it is extremely or very important that the products they buy be made in the USA – even higher for those forty-five years or older. But when asked if they would pay more for a product that was made in the USA, less than a quarter (23 percent) said they are willing to spend the extra money all or most of the time. Half of shoppers said they would sometimes be willing to pay more for products made in the USA, which is likely dependent on what they are buying.
Hands down, and to no surprise, food was the item that most consumers said they would be more likely buy if it was made in the USA. Second to food was apparel. Apparel edged in front of categories like home appliances, footwear, and even cars. Apparel’s number two position was driven by women – Females were 30 percent more likely than men to opt for apparel that is made in the USA. But with heavy discounting dictating the way we shop, as seen throughout the recent holiday season, is it realistic to expect the consumer to pay more for American-made apparel?
My colleague, Marshal Cohen, said in a recent blog, “2017 will be the year that country of origin will take a significant step forward in terms of both consumer responsiveness and becoming part of the marketing DNA of the product.” What it all means for the apparel industry remains to be seen. Will consumers actually spend more on locally produced product? Only time will tell. What we do know is consumers are paying attention to where products are made, and so should manufacturers and retailers.Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Omnibus Sept 2016