Who says that U.S. manufacturers can't compete? Not American consumers, apparently. Not Chinese ones either.
The arithmetic of manufacturing in the U.S. has been gradually changing as wages rise in places like China and Brazil, narrowing the labor cost gap between outsourced goods and U.S. made goods. Attitudes among consumers have been changing, too. Turns out consumers will dish out more money for products manufactured in the U.S., according to a new study by management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.
To evaluate attitudes toward American products, BCG surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the U.S., China, Germany and France. Of the European participants, more than 65% prefer products made in their home countries. But more than 80% in the U.S. and a surprising 61% in China said they would pay a premium for American-made goods than for products made in China.
Quality is a key driver in this consumer preference, the study noted. 85% of consumers in the U.S. and 82% in China believe American-made products have higher quality.
“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,” said BCG parter Michael Zinser in a statement.
Two-thirds of U.S. consumers would pay more for domestically made items in 10 product categories, ranging from baby food and appliances to electronics and apparel. More than half of the Chinese consumers chose to buy American products over cheaper Chinese goods at least once in the month before the survey.
Through its Made in America, Again research series, BCG found that the U.S. is a becoming a more attractive base for manufacturing. In an earlier study, the firm attributed increased Chinese wages and shipping costs to the "reshoring" phenomenon (American companies returning from overseas to manufacture locally).