Chinese consumers willing to pay more for "Made In USA," survey finds

November 16, 2012

The demand for manufacturing products made in America isn't limited to the domestic market, with consumers in China happy to pay a premium price for U.S goods, a recent survey reveals.

According to Reuters, a report by the Boston Consulting Group showed that the average Chinese customer would prefer to pay more money for a product with "made in the USA" stamped on it than for a locally manufactured item. The study showed that 61 percent of consumers in China wanted to spend more on American goods, while 47 percent of respondents would choose the U.S. version over a Chinese-made alternative.

The survey by BCG seems to indicate that domestic manufacturing strategy is paying off for some U.S. companies. Chinese consumers are reportedly drawn to the durable nature and consistently high quality of American products, with some industry analysts believing that this is not always the case for home-produced goods.

U.S. manufacturers have also seen that overseas markets are concerned with the environmental impact of a product, leading to a change in production techniques and a definitive green business strategy. The report, which was published on November 14, focused on consumer goods, but BCG believes that it can be applied to a number of manufacturing companies.

"The Chinese consumer is quietly concerned about what they're getting," commented Hal Sirkin, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the BCG study. "Consumers are responding to recent cases of lead paint in toys, tainted milk and other scandals that, in some cases, led to severe penalties for those responsible. As more Chinese enter the middle class, they will increasingly look for value in the goods they buy rather than just the lowest price, which will pressure Chinese manufacturers to improve quality."

The report also found that some manufactured goods were more popular in overseas markets than others, with consumers willing to pay that little bit extra to achieve status. Seventy-seven percent of Chinese respondents admitted that they would pay more for a U.S.-made athletic shoe, while automobile parts and hand tools were also seen as quality goods with a long life. According to the authors of the survey, the demand for goods manufactured in the U.S. could spark an "industrial renaissance with 5 million new jobs."

"If you're going to have things that have a long life, like mechanics' hand tools, there's real premiums for 'Made in USA' over a foreign brand because the quality is better," Sirkin said.