Does “Made in America” Still Matter to Consumers?
Do American citizens care where their products come from? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Over the past few decades, the importance of “Made in America”—labels on products indicating production was done in the U.S.—has ebbed and flowed.
As China has grown into the United States’ economic rival and geopolitical adversary, the distinction between American-made and Chinese-made has resurfaced, even as some products have been mislabeled or locally produced but Chinese-owned.
How do people currently feel? This chart uses survey responses from May 2023 out of Morning Consult, in which a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults were questioned on whether they had favorable views of products from U.S. companies using American or Chinese labor and parts.
Who Prefers American-Made?
According to the report, companies that choose to move production state-side will experience reputational gains with American consumers.
In fact, around two-thirds of survey respondents said they regularly sought out products that were “Made in America” during the last year. But there were slight divides in gender (men favored American-made products more) and noticeable divides in generational responses.
Here’s a look at the data on how different demographic groups valued national goods:
|Generation||Favorable View of|
|Favorable View of
|U.S. Adults Total||29%||70%|
On the political spectrum, both Democrats and Republicans had the exact same share of respondents who favor American-made products at 76%. Comparatively, only 57% of independents favored American-made products, though they also responded least favorably to Chinese-made products at 22%.
One other interesting point to come out of the survey: close to 50% of consumers said they would actually be willing to pay more for American-made products.
The American Goods Market
Looking at responses from U.S. adults overall, large shares of consumers are leaning towards domestic-made goods. Here are some additional insights worth considering:
- 65% of U.S. adult consumers claimed to sometimes or always buy “Made in America” products intentionally
- 43% prioritize purchasing American-made products rather than prioritizing other options like quality, sustainability, or affordability
- 48% are willing to pay higher amounts for U.S.-based products. 39% responded they would pay between 6%-10% more for said products
Overall, it appears that “in-house” goods are more desirable to Americans in the current environment. This also explains why regionalization is becoming more important for companies, whether in terms of reshoring (or onshoring) production back to America, or “nearshoring” to Mexico and closer neighbors.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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