Born in the USA OR Coming to America

Harris Poll Finds Buying American Still Valued in Increasingly Global Marketplace

 

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients—stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

 

NEW YORK, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — At a time when many of the companies thought of as being American as apple pie actually outsource a growing portion of their production abroad, “buying American” has never been a more confusing proposition. Is a product manufactured overseas by a U.S. company more American than an Asian product manufactured in the United States?  What about the parts being used to produce these competing products?  The Harris Poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, set out to address what factors contribute to the perception of a product as “American” in an online survey of 2,176 U.S. adults between December 12 and 18, 2012.

“What many consumers don’t know is that companies very traditionally seen as American, from GE to John Deere to Levi Strauss, outsource varying portions of their operations overseas, so it takes a lot of attention and research to determine if you’re buying American and what that specifically means to you,” said Mike de Vere, President of the Harris Poll.  “Even the big three automakers – Ford, General Motors and Chrysler – two of whom were thought of as the most American brands in our findings, increasingly have cars in which parts are produced abroad, while Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda have upped U.S. production.”

American Made
Being manufactured in the United States is clearly the top factor in being considered an “American” product, with three-fourths of Americans (75%) agreeing that “A product needs to be manufactured within the U.S. for me to consider it ‘American’.”  This puts domestic manufacture ahead of the importance of being from a U.S. company, being made from American parts, or being American designed.

  • Roughly half of U.S. adults agree that “A product needs to be made by a U.S. company for me to consider it ‘American'” (52%) and that “A product needs to be made from parts produced in the U.S. for me to consider it ‘American'” (47%).
  • Only one-fourth of Americans (25%) agree that “A product needs to be designed by an American for me to consider it ‘American’.”

The majority of Americans indicate feeling that it is either “very important” or “important” to “buy American” for the product types tested, with the strongest such feelings expressed for major appliances (75%), furniture (74%), clothing (72%), small appliances (71%), and automobiles (70%).

  • Perceived importance of buying American products increases with age across all categories; 18-35 year olds place the least importance on the practice, those 48 and older place the most.
  • Additionally, women are more likely than men to indicate that it is either “very important” or “important” to buy American in most categories.

A Nation Not So Divided
In what may come as a surprise, Republicans and Democrats seem to have some common ground on the subject.  Their importance ratings to “buy American” are either similar or identical, and are stronger than those of independents, across several categories.  Top examples of this include:

  • Automobiles (75% Republicans, 74% Democrats, 64% Independents);
  • Home electronics (71%-71%-60%); and
  • Personal electronics (71%-71%-60%).

Job Security
When asked to rate the importance of a series of motivations for buying American, over seven in ten U.S. adults rate each tested reason either “very important” or “important.” Drilling down into the “very important” ratings uncovers more diverse results. The clear frontrunner for this measure is “keeping jobs in America,” with two-thirds (66%) of U.S. adults rating it “very important.” The majority also assign top importance levels to “supporting American companies” (56%), while half do so for “safety concerns with products assembled/produced outside of the U.S.” (49%).

  • On the other end of the spectrum, “Decreasing environmental impact since products don’t need to travel as far” receives the lowest “very important” rating (32%).
  • Women and older adults are again more likely to rate the tested reasons “very important.”

America Loves a Ford
When asked directly, and without any prompting as to brand names, place of manufacture or other factors, to name the company they perceive as most “American*,” U.S. adults’ minds go first to the auto industry, with two of Detroit’s big three topping the list.

  • Ford (15%) is the top mention by a wide margin.
  • Combined (9%) mentions of General Motors / GM (5%) and GM-owned Chevrolet (4%) are next strongest.
  • Other well-known companies to make the list included the golden arches and America’s top-selling soda brand.
    • McDonald’s (4%)
    • Coca-Cola (4%)
    • Walmart (3%)

 

TABLE 1a
IMPORTANCE OF BUYING AMERICAN, BY PRODUCT TYPE – by Generation & Gender
[Summary of combined “Very important” and “Important” ratings]
“Which of the following best describes how important you feel it is to ‘buy American’ for each of these types of products?  Even if you do not typically make purchases in a particular product category, we’d like to know your opinion.”

Base: U.S. Adults

Total Generation Gender
Echo Boomers

(18-35)

Gen. X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

Males Females
% % % % % % %
Major appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) 75 57 74 86 85 71 79
Furniture 74 54 76 86 84 71 78
Clothing 72 56 76 80 80 67 77
Small appliances (microwave, vacuum, etc.) 71 53 72 81 81 66 76
Automobiles 70 58 72 76 75 65 74
Sports/exercise equipment (bike, running shoes, etc.) 66 50 70 76 71 64 69
Home electronics (TV, blu-ray player, etc.) 66 49 69 74 76 60 72
Personal electronics (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. 66 46 69 76 76 61 71
Jewelry 63 47 67 69 70 58 67
Motorcycles 59 46 62 67 61 58 61
Novelty/gift items 59 45 64 66 61 51 66

Note: Multiple response question

 

TABLE 1b
IMPORTANCE OF BUYING AMERICAN, BY PRODUCT TYPE – by Metro Status & Political Affiliation
[Summary of combined “Very important” and “Important” ratings]
“Which of the following best describes how important you feel it is to ‘buy American’ for each of these types of products?  Even if you do not typically make purchases in a particular product category, we’d like to know your opinion.”

Base: U.S. Adults

Total Metro Status Political Party
Urban Suburban Rural Republicans Democrats Independents
% % % % % % %
Major appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) 75 72 74 81 81 76 75
Furniture 74 71 73 80 79 75 75
Clothing 72 70 72 75 73 75 73
Small appliances (microwave, vacuum, etc.) 71 72 68 77 76 74 69
Automobiles 70 71 67 74 75 74 64
Sports/exercise equipment (bike, running shoes, etc.) 66 64 65 72 73 65 67
Home electronics (TV, blu-ray player, etc.) 66 69 63 71 71 71 60
Personal electronics (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. 66 66 64 69 71 71 60
Jewelry 63 62 60 69 68 65 59
Motorcycles 59 55 58 66 63 60 59
Novelty/gift items 59 57 56 66 61 61 57

Note: Multiple response question

 

TABLE 2
FACTORS INFLUENCING DESIRE TO BUY AMERICAN – by Generation, Gender & Metro Status
[Summary of “Very important” & combined “Very important” and “Important” ratings]
“In terms of buying American products, how important are each of the following to your purchase decision?”

Base: U.S. Adults

Total Generation Gender Metro Status
Echo Boomers

(18-35)

Gen. X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

Males Females Urban Sub-urban Rural
% % % % % % % % % %
Keeping jobs in America 90 82 90 94 95 87 93 88 90 92
66 53 57 76 78 59 72 61 65 72
Supporting American companies 87 76 88 93 94 84 90 84 87 92
56 40 55 61 71 49 62 50 56 60
Safety concerns with products assembled/ produced outside of the U.S. 82 71 84 85 93 78 86 81 81 86
49 36 42 56 68 42 56 49 48 51
Quality concerns with products assembled/ produced outside of the U.S. 83 73 85 85 91 80 85 81 82 84
45 36 37 49 61 40 50 45 42 51
Patriotism 76 59 78 82 87 74 77 69 74 85
45 33 38 51 60 42 47 40 45 49
Human rights issues with products assembled/ produced outside of the U.S. 76 65 80 79 84 68 83 77 75 76
39 33 33 43 50 30 48 40 39 39
Decreasing environmental impact since products don’t need to travel as far 71 62 73 75 76 64 77 70 70 74
32 24 30 36 40 25 38 30 31 36

Note: Multiple response question

 

TABLE 3
FACTORS IN CONSIDERING A PRODUCT TO BE “AMERICAN” – by Generation, Gender & Metro Status
“Which of the following statements do you agree with?”

Base: U.S. Adults

Total Generation Gender Metro Status
Echo Boomers

(18-35)

Gen. X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

Males Females Urban Sub-urban Rural
% % % % % % % % % %
A product needs to be manufactured within the U.S. for me to consider it “American” 75 69 72 81 79 71 79 70 78 76
A product needs to be made by a U.S. company for me to consider it “American” 52 50 46 54 56 48 55 50 51 55
A product needs to be made from parts produced in the U.S. for me to consider it “American” 47 48 45 46 51 48 47 50 45 50
A product needs to be designed by an American for me to consider it “American” 25 27 22 23 25 23 26 24 24 27
Not at all sure 9 14 9 6 7 11 8 10 8 10

Note: Multiple response question

 

TABLE 4
COMPANY PERCEIVED AS MOST “AMERICAN” – by Region & Age & Gender
“What company do you consider to be the most ‘American’?”

Base: *U.S. Adults

Total Region Age Gender
Northeast Midwest South West 18-34 35-44 54-54 55+ Males Females
% % % % % % % % % % %
Ford 15 17 18 12 16 16 20 13 13 17 14
GM + Chevrolet [NET] 9 8 11 8 11 8 9 13 7 9 9
General Motors / GM 5 4 6 4 6 5 5 6 4 6 4
Chevrolet 4 4 4 5 5 3 4 7 4 4 5
McDonald’s 4 3 3 4 5 4 6 5 2 6 2
Coca-Cola 4 3 2 5 4 3 4 5 4 4 4
Walmart 3 3 3 4 3 6 2 3 2 3 4
Harley-Davidson 1 2 3 1 1 * 2 2 2 2 1
Apple 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1
General Electric / GE 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 * 1 1 1
Johnson & Johnson 1 * 2 1 2 * * 1 2 1 1
Microsoft 1 1 1 1 1 1 * * 2 1 *
Pepsi 1 1 1 1 * 1 1 1 1 1 1
Procter & Gamble 1 2 * 1 * 1 2 * 1
Kraft 1 1 1 * 1 1 1 1 * 1
Levi Strauss 1 1 1 * 1 * 1 2 * 1 1
Disney / Walt Disney 1 1 * 1 * * 1 * 1 1 *
IBM 1 * * 1 * * * * 1 1 *
Other 8 8 7 8 8 10 6 7 7 9 7
None 9 7 8 9 10 7 8 9 10 6 11
Don’t know 15 16 14 18 12 12 14 16 18 7 22
Declined to answer 5 7 5 6 4 7 7 6 3 5 6

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Methodology
This Harris Poll* was conducted online within the United States between December 12 and 18, 2012 among 2,176 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

*Data for “What company do you consider to be most ‘American'” question was conducted online within the United States between January 2 and 4, 2012 among 2,126 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #13, March 6, 2013

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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