“Made in America” has become a trendy label that conscientious U.S. consumers often look for. But it’s not just Americans who are searching for that label. American-made goods have more international clout than one might think, especially with Chinese consumers.
A recent IndustryWeek study found that 85 percent of Americans and 82 percent of Chinese consumers believe that products made in America are high-quality.
Incidentally, the U.S. has been ranked first for brand reputation four years in a row by the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index.
China was the third largest importer of U.S. goods last year, purchasing nearly $109 billion worth of everything from electronics to apparel to industrial equipment.
Driving this growth is a booming Chinese middle class (estimated to reach 600 million by the end of this decade) with a hunger for quality, higher priced Western products. A report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that 61 percent of China’s consumers would pay more for a product made in the U.S.
While a growing Chinese middle class is demanding better products, China is simultaneously losing its footing as a cheap place to manufacture. According to the same BCG report, China’s once-overwhelming low-cost advantage over the U.S. is eroding fast. Within five years, rising Chinese wages, higher U.S. productivity, a weaker dollar, and other factors will virtually close the cost gap between the U.S. and China.
The longstanding yet often turbulent business relationship between the U.S. and China is clearly shifting. China has lost its cost advantage, and American manufacturers can now compete aggressively on quality, service and technology in a way that China cannot. And this is exponentially good for American manufacturers.
It’s estimated that higher U.S. exports, combined with re-shored production from China, could create 2.5 million to 5 million new U.S. jobs in manufacturing and related services by the end of the decade.
If you are interested in finding out more about American-made products, you can check out this list of Made in the USA brand members.