Eric Button

Americans Care About Made in USA

ast year 35 Million Americans each paid $500 *extra* to buy Made in USA products over the alternative. Here’s a breakdown of the math.

Let’s play the devil’s advocate and use conservative estimates here wherever possible.

A 2016 AP Poll titled “Americans prefer low prices to items ‘Made in the USA’” showed that while most Americans prefer low prices to higher-priced Made in USA products, there’s a glaring exception among the Americans that do care. When faced with a purchase decision between a foreign-made pair of pants costing $50 or a USA-made pair costing $85, 30% of Americans said they’d buy the USA-made pair.

(This data from AP mirrors data collected by The Reshoring Institute here)

Taken literally, this means that there are 75 million American adults who gladly pay a 70% premium to ensure their clothes are USA-made. I’m skeptical that 30% of Americans would pay such a premium, so let’s assume that their numbers are 2x too optimistic in both the scope and magnitude and cut them in half.

Even at 15% of Americans paying a 35% premium, that comes out to 37 million Americans willing to pay 35% extra for their clothes. The average American spends $1900 on clothes each year (let’s make it $1000). So this cohort’s buying behavior comes out to a $12.9 Billion premium spent each year to make sure their clothes are Made in USA.

Let’s assume that for this die-hard cohort this desire to buy Made in USA extends to other personal purchases such as cosmetics and household items. The average American spends $707 per year for personal care items, and women spend over $1000 each year on makeup and cosmetics alone.

Again being conservative, let’s say a member of this cohort spends $3000 each year on products where the country of origin is important. If this person is willing to pay a 16% premium to buy Made in America, that is an extra $500 that consumer pays each year to buy Made in USA. Multiplied across the 35 million members of this cohort, this is a $17.5 Billion premium spent by conscious consumers.

An underestimated group of millions of Americans care about buying Made in USA, and their spending habits put billions of dollars back into American business.