When It Comes to ‘Made in USA,’ Does American Pride Stop at the Wallet?

For many American consumers, there is a certain pride associated with buying products that are made in the United States.

According to recent data gathered by global market research firm YouGov, 76% of American adults agree that, if given the choice, they would tend to buy “Made in America” products. Narrowing down the demographics, 89% of adults aged 65 and up as well as 84% of those between the ages of 50 and 64 preferred to purchase domestically made items. Among those from 18 to 34 years old, about 59% feel the same.

But even though a Reuters/Ipsos poll reports that 70% of shoppers think it’s “very important” or “somewhat important” to go the domestic route, the appeal of American-made goods continues to carry less weight than those very items’ price tags.

“While folks say they want ‘Made in America’ products, in many cases they are not willing to spend the extra money for them,” said Matt Powell, senior industry advisor of sports at The NPD Group.

Indeed, according to that same Reuters survey, which was conducted two years ago, 37% of respondents said they’d refuse to pay a premium for U.S.-made products, with 26% adding that they would fork over up to 5% more to buy American and 21% capping that cost at 10%.

Because the cost of production generally remains higher in the U.S. than in other countries, American companies have the tough task of attempting to eke out a profit from consumers who aren’t often willing to shell out more money for domestic-made merchandise.

“Outside of high-price, bespoke product, it is simply not feasible for most companies to hit targeted margins by manufacturing high-volume footwear product in the U.S.,” B. Riley FBR retail analyst Jeff Van Sinderen previously told FN.

The subject of American manufacturing has been in the national spotlight since the election of President Donald Trump, who sought to revitalize production as well as manufacturing jobs in the West. Rising wages in China — combined with the Trump administration’s heated trade dispute with the country — continue to prompt more exploration among companies about relocating to U.S. soil.

Watch FN’s interview with these shoe designers.

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