Why Made In America Still Matters

made in america

Does your retail or ecommerce business sell American-made products? Then you might have an edge with consumers—if you know how to market these products right. A recent Harris Interactive study shows Americans of both genders, all political parties and all ages care about buying American (PDF).

These days, “Made in America” isn’t as clear-cut as it used to be. Most Americans are aware that products branded with American labels may be made in overseas factories or assembled here with parts made overseas. Three-fourths of consumers say being manufactured in the U.S. is crucial for them to consider it “made in America.” Half say being made by an American company or having parts manufactured in the U.S. is what matters. Only one-fourth cared whether a product was designed by an American.

Although buying American matters to all age groups, older respondents (age 48-plus) were the most likely to say it’s important to do so. Women also placed greater importance on buying American than men do. Perhaps surprisingly, three-fourths of both Republicans and Democrats say buying American is important, compared to just 60 percent of independents.

Keeping jobs in the U.S. is the biggest reason respondents give for wanting to buy American-made products as cited by 66 percent of respondents. Supporting U.S. companies was cited by 56 percent, and patriotism by 45 percent.

There were also some fear-based reasons for buying American. Nearly half buy American because they’re worried about the safety of products made overseas, while 45 percent worry about the quality. In addition, 39 percent are concerned about the human rights of the foreign workers who make these products, while 32 percent worry about the environmental impact of products made outside the U.S.

The bigger the purchase, it seems, the more importance people attach to buying American. So if you sell American-made appliances, furniture or cars, know that between 70 and 75 percent of people believe buying those products is important or very important. Seventy-two percent say the same about apparel.

Clearly, if you sell anything made in America, you need to let your customers know:

Be Specific

Your marketing should explain to what degree the product is made in America (assembled in the U.S.? Made with parts manufactured in the U.S.?).

Appeal to Emotion

What will customers accomplish by buying your products?  Protecting U.S. jobs? Helping the environment? Feeling confident their new clothing wasn’t made by child labor?

Tell Your Story

Share why you think it’s important to buy American. If you actually manufacture your own product here, even better. You’re not only a Made in America story, but an entrepreneurial success story to boot.

America Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

8 Reactions
  1. Noting your product is Made in America can be a selling point to Canadians also. Check the NAFTA agreement. Certain things are duty free when shipped to Canada if the invoice and shipping documents are written the right way.

    Bonus selling point to increase your sales!

  2. Rieva,

    I agree that ‘Made in USA’ still matters. In fact, from what I read, I’ve seen that ‘Made in USA’ is a rising trend – and it’s actually a good selling point for many U.S. small biz ( I’ve written about this here http://wp.me/p3uQZR-39 )

  3. If Made in America not matters then what will matter. It defines how much our product is respected globally and people have full trust on our technology they believe what americans can produce is difficult to be matched.


  4. We tried our best and collected the best American products into a simple site. Great to know that people still care for Made in America.

  5. I invented and produce a product made COMPLETELY in the USA. Life is Good. The Clients are Happy.
    The secret to success is inventing something that brings happiness, can be made locally, and is sold at a genuinely affordable price. ‘Cause if most people can’t afford one, it’s no good.
    God Bless America :o)