The New Generation Doesn't Care If Products Are Made In America

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1Photo: Via Instagram
An April Gallup poll suggests Millennials don't value the "Made in America" movement as much as some might hope. Out of 1,000 people, 45% claim to put special effort into buying American-made products versus 55% who do not. The results, discussed at length in WWD, indicate a large age gap between those who care the most about buying U.S.-produced goods: 61% of those 65 and older make it a priority, while only 20% of those 18 to 29 do the same.

This could be worrisome for domestically-produced apparel brands that target Millennials and charge more accordingly. Will this generation, accustomed to fast fashion and a global mentality, be willing to spend the extra few bucks for a "Made in the USA" tag? Once again, the unavoidable quality versus quantity debate surfaces — as does another: Are younger Americans simply less inclined to see the link between patronage and patriotism? And does it really matter?

"Older people tend to be more patriotic," Gallup managing editor Jeffrey Jones told WWD. "Could it be that older Americans have witnessed the erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base and are paying more attention to questions about country of origin? Perhaps."

On a positive note, while "patriotism" isn't necessarily everyone's motivation for buying stateside-manufactured goods, 64% of those interviewed for the April Gallup poll still say they'd be willing to pay more for American items — even those who don't currently make a special effort to do so. Additionally, when you bring e-commerce into the equation, the numbers are more optimistic: Over 60% in a WWD/American Giant survey say they use the Internet to find and purchase American-made merchandise.

Ultimately, none of these figures definitively mean that young people don't care about where or how their purchases are made. Locavore and eco-conscious consumption movements — largely youth-fueled — continue to steadily grow. In fact, green fashion now generates over $5 billion in revenue a year — up 1000% from a decade ago. Generational shifts in attitude towards commerce and country are bound to evolve, but it seems whether or not we were born pre or post 1980, we're mostly on the same page when it comes down to doing the responsible thing. (WWD)