December 13, 2016 at 6:00 am ET
Majority of U.S. Consumers Prefer to Buy American — Up to a Point
Americans are inclined to purchase an item made in the United States over a foreign-produced good at the same price. But as the cost of the American-made goods increases, more people say they are willing to buy foreign products.
A recent Morning Consult poll asked 1,605 U.S. adults about their preference between two hypothetical coats — both identical to one another — with one produced domestically and the other imported. When both cost $50, three out of four respondents said they would purchase the U.S.-made coat, while 6 percent chose the foreign-made coat.
But as the price of the domestic coat increased, consumers were more likely to buy the cheaper, foreign version. When the U.S.-made coat cost $60, the share of people who said they would buy it slid to 63 percent, and 22 percent said the $50 coat made abroad. When the cost of the U.S. coat climbed to $75, less than half of the respondents (47 percent) said they would buy it, while 35 percent said they would purchase the $50 coat made elsewhere.
Younger respondents were more price sensitive. Fifty-one percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said they would buy the $50 coat made in a foreign country if the American-made coat costs $25 more, compared with 37 percent of 30-44-year-olds and 19 percent of respondents in both the 45-54 and 55-64 age brackets. Thirty-four percent of people 65 or older said they would buy the $50 coat made in a foreign country.