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Made in the USA: Politics, spending habits shape Made in USA mantra

April 24/May 1, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 23

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 2.34.11 PMAt the start of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a strong importance was placed on buying American goods and hiring of American people. While the election is over, this made, sold, bought in the USA sentiment continues to grow.

As President Trump continues to push forward with his plans to “Make America Great Again” and to bring jobs back to America, buying American-made products has been adopted as one of the ways Americans can help.

Looking at the Made in USA label as an extension of President Trump and his ideals is impacting the label in both positive and negative ways. For those who support the President, buying American products are essential to supporting the current administration. Conversely, for some individuals who disagree with the current administration, boycotting Made in the USA products is viewed as a way to dispute President Trump’s position.

When it comes to the flooring industry, viewpoints are mixed. Torrey Jaeckle, vice president of Jaeckle Distributors, expressed concerns over proposed tariffs on imported products. (His company imports from China.) “As a free-market businessman in an industry that relies on a fair amount of imported product, this is the area that most concerns me about Trump,” he told FCNews.

On the flip side, proponents of the President’s economic policies feel putting America first will only help the flooring industry, especially retailers. “Lower taxes, less regulation and pro-growth government policies are generally good for both small and large businesses,” said Sam Roberts, owner of Houston-based Roberts Carpet & Fine Flooring. “I think most dealers would welcome change that might alter current business realities.”

Whether a buyer supports President Trump and the administration or not, there is a larger underlying factor affecting consumers’ decisions to buy Made in the USA products: money. According to an Associated Press-GFK poll from 2016, a majority of Americans said they would seek out lower-priced items instead of paying more for products labeled Made in the USA, even if that means the cheaper items are made abroad.

While it is still too early to tell the lasting influence the President will have on consumers buying Made in USA products, one thing is definite: Retailers must find a way to either offer Made in USA items at a lower price, or provide a strong enough product story to upsell the consumer.