Made in America Making a Comeback
By: Svetlana Binshtok 06/04/2014
Although the large majority of products sold in America are still manufactured in China, the Made in America movement is still holding strong. In recent years, empirical studies have revealed that Americans loyal to U.S. car manufacturers is on the rise. In 2012, 14 percent of vehicle buyers avoided import models, which is the highest level since the initial study nine years prior. On the other side of that, an all-time low of 6 percent of Americans purchasing cars avoid American-made vehicles. This trend is seen far beyond the automotive industry, with studies reporting that 65 percent of luxury shoppers now prefer to purchase American-made goods.
You can chalk this phenomenon, or at least our awareness of it, up to the recession. When American manufacturing tanked and took with it millions of jobs, Americans understood that in order to support the workforce in the United States, they have to buy the goods that are American-made. However, there is more to the story. Americans, both consumers and businesses, are recognizing the superior quality of goods produced in their country (possibly a result of strict manufacturing and marketing regulations).
Made in America is not only important to large corporations, but also to small to mid-market companies and startups. Eugene Shlyakhta, COO of Chicago-based Breathslim, manufactures his product and packaging in the United States. Why does Breathslim choose to produce its respiratory trainer in the United States? “Safety, quality and credibility. Our plastic is food-grade, BPA-free, and made in Illinois. Our packaging is made in Las Vegas. Once you hold it in your hand, you can feel the difference,” he says.
American manufacturers are feeling the return of Made in the U.S. For example, at the end of 2011, Chrysler reported a $225 million profit and $183 million net income, up from a $652 million loss the previous year. That was also the car manufacturer’s most profitable year in more than a decade. Some brands have also come under fire for producing their goods abroad. In recent years, Ralph Lauren was heavily criticized by the media, consumers, and even Capitol Hill when he designed the U.S. Olympic team’s dress uniforms, and then chose to manufacture them in China.
Shlyakhta says, “We [Breathslim] want to create more jobs in our country, and I think the Made in the U.S. logo on our product builds credibility. The standard of manufacturing just cannot be beat by products made in China or India, and elsewhere abroad. Consumers value products made in the U.S.”
In the short-term, companies try to cut corners and manufacture abroad to beef up their margins. However, although the American economy sees about $0.55 for every dollar it spends on Chinese-made products, the long-term effects of sending and manufacturing abroad are not a distant threat, but a palpable reality we can observe now. American entrepreneurs need to understand that the value of American manufacturing is greater than the small premium for businesses to produce the product and for consumers to purchase it.
ABC News has reported that if each American spent as little as $3.33 more per week on American-made goods, the result would be 10,000 new jobs. It is undeniable that buying Made in America and investing in manufacturing your own products in the United States creates jobs, supports money circulating in our economy, and also decreasing our dependence on foreign countries.
When paying slightly more to manufacture in America and to purchase American-made goods, many people overlook that the premium they are paying is the cost of independence. Renting an apartment costs more money than living with mom and dad, but you can’t put a price on what you get by moving out.