Many shoppers want to buy holiday gifts made in the United States but have a hard time finding them.
A survey by the Alliance of American Manufacturing, a joint venture between the United Steelworkers union and leading manufacturing companies, found three-quarters of American consumers would prefer to buy presents that were made in America. But a third say they never or rarely see American-made goods on store shelves.
“Americans want to shop ‘Made In USA,’ especially around the holidays,” said AAM President Scott Paul. “Retailers are missing out by not doing more to promote American-made gifts in their marketing and store displays. We’re doing our part by shining the spotlight on some great companies that are making their products locally. Now, it’s up to retailers to stock their shelves with more Made in America options, and better showcase them in their stores, too. It could benefit them at the cash register.”
Only 14% of those surveyed said they saw American-made products a lot while shopping. About 43% of consumers said they blame companies for moving production overseas to foreign countries with cheaper labor costs and fewer regulations.
“It’s no surprise that the majority of Americans want to buy domestically made goods, both to make the holidays brighter and to help support good jobs and a stronger U.S. economy,” said USW International Vice President Roxanne Brown. “USW members proudly make a number of high-quality products that make great gifts. We’re grateful to the AAM for putting together this important resource to make both holiday shopping and investing in our communities easier.”
About 81% said they would buy more holiday gifts made in the United States if they were more widely available at big-box stores, malls and other large retailers.
About 72% of those surveyed said buying American helped the U.S. economy, while 58% said it would create jobs. An estimated 87% of those who made between $50,000 and $100,000 a year said they would buy American-made products as presents for Christmas and other holidays.
“We are here to educate the public on how to find American-made gifts, and how to use country-of-origin labels to figure out where a product was made,” Paul said. “Labels offer transparency about a product; unfortunately, online retailers don’t have to disclose where products are made like in-person stores.”
About 79% of those surveyed said online retailers should be required to include a country-of-origin label for products the way brick-and-mortar retailers do. Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation to update labeling laws to include online retail to help boost American-made products and American manufacturing jobs.
“Regardless of whether shopping online or in a store, Americans have a right to know whether the products they buy are being made right here in America, by American workers,” said Baldwin. “With more and more consumers buying their goods online, we must ensure online retailers are being just as transparent as brick-and-mortar stores.”
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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.
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