Boston Consulting Group surveyed more than 5,000 consumers and discovered that 61 percent of Chinese consumers would pay more for a product made in the U.S. The survey said 47 percent of Chinese consumers would prefer U.S. products even if there were Chinese versions of similar price or quality, Reuters reports.
The study found that Chinese consumers prefer the quality, durability and the less harsh environmental impact of U.S. products. While Americans still have the highest preference for homemade products, recent issues with the production of Chinese products has stirred more foreign consumers to favor U.S.-made products, the study said.
Hal Sirkin, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the study, said some of these cases involve lead paint in toys and tainted milk, which has led to severe penalties for companies involved.
He noted that the increasing Chinese middle class is now looking more at the value of the products they buy, rather than just low price.
More than 25 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay up to a 10 percent premium for quality-made U.S. alternatives of products including appliances, furniture, and baby food. Several Chinese consumers also said that they would be willing to pay up to 77 percent more for athletic shoes made in the U.S.A., according to the study.
“The Chinese consumer is quietly concerned about what they're getting,” Sirkin said. “If you're going to have things that have a long life, like mechanics' hand tools, there's real premiums for 'Made in USA' over a foreign brand because the quality is better.”
He suggested that the American preference may force Chinese manufacturers to improve the quality of their products.
BCG believes that U.S. manufacturers can use this to their advantage. As Chinese production and shipping costs rise, U.S. manufacturers may find increased productivity in several industries such as automotive production, auto parts, electrical equipment and furniture, the consulting group said. Such a boon could help to facilitate an “industrial renaissance with 5 million new jobs,” it said.
BCG recommended retailers use U.S. suppliers and brands, in addition to making their U.S. sourcing as visible as possible in order to help attract shoppers.