Monday, March 23, 2009

Are more men buying American?

Are American men more inclined to buy patriotic when shopping for clothes?

We're skeptical.

A new Women's Wear Daily article says so, however. In it, apparel retailers and vendors are convinced that a "wave of nationalism" will prompt men to check out the labels of the clothes they're purchasing.

(We'll pause while some spouses chuckle at the placement of "men," "clothes," and "purchasing" in the same sentence.)

The article notes several retailers and apparel makers who believe that the flag on the tag will help position them better in the minds of consumers. There are no numbers, however, to back up those assertions.

We asked our favorite consumer behavior expert - UNC Charlotte marketing professor James Oakley - what he thought.

"The patriotism component won't help if the product is of lesser quality, or if the quality is equal, but the price is higher," he says. "Especially during an economic downturn, consumers won't pay extra for something that doesn't add specific value to the purchase."

Oakley says it's too early to measure if "made in America" is making a difference - but even if it does, he doesn't suspect it will be a lasting consumer behavior, regardless of the product.

"All things equal, the patriotism component may play an integral part in the decision process, but on its own, it won't have much of an impact," he says. "It's certainly not helping GM, Ford, or Chrysler right now."

Are you "buying American" more now?


Patrick said...

The other day I was at REI and found a TShirt that I really liked. I am not normally someone that will pay more than around $15 for a TShirt - and this one was $30. But it was Made in the USA - and done so organically and environmentally so I did it. If it was a $30 shirt made in Vietnam - no way.

Anonymous said...

I buy what I need. If it is American made, that is even better. But, I will buy the best product that I can for my dollar, regardless of it's origin. I want value, not cheap. I am a male, 56 years old.

Anonymous said...

Clothing is one thing, basically I buy what I like the look of. If it's cheap that's better, if it's American even moreso.

Now other things I will buy quality first. Especially tools, I cannot STAND cheap tools and those "bargain bins" you see in stores with the cheap tools from China are NO bargain.

You might get one or two uses out of them before they break, or they may last 20 years. More often than not, they break on the first use.

You don't have to worry about that too much from clothing, unless the button stitching unravels or the fit isn't correct.

Anonymous said...

Last week my husband cancelled an order for a Dell computer because when he called to order it, the customer service representative was in India. Outsourced customer service is as bad as not made in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to pay more if it's made in the U.S. If it's made in China, it had better be cheap. What I can't get over is how many expensive high-end places are making items overseas and still charging alot of money. Whose buying that?!

Anonymous said...

I think the answer to your question is yes. I would also ask the question, why did American men stop buying American?

Granted, it's harder and harder to find the clothes I like that are made in America. That isn't because the quality was bad. It's because of corporate greed seeking to mazimize every penny of profit they can by having the goods made overseas by mega-cheap labor. Even old stand by companies like L. L. Bean, whose labels proudly proclaimed "Made in U.S.A." have gone the import route.

My own buying habits haven't changed. I won't knowingly buy clothes made in China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, India, or Japan.

Anonymous said...

I buy what's cheapest. I hate it when idiots rant about "buyin''muricun" and also rant about how capitalism is the greatest thing ever. If American companies can't compete with with foreign ones too bad, so sad - let them fail - that's capitalism for you!

Anonymous said...

I try not to buy much in clothing unless it is cheap.

Rarely do I pay more than $5 for a shirt or pair of casual slacks.

If I do it is from an outlet mall (Van Heusen or such).

I also buy clothing direct from China. I'll have friends or family just pick up some items whenever they visit. They have many shops which sell shirts in standard sizes I can buy.

I have my casual slacks tailor-made to look just like Dockers or some other khakis and pay about $10for them.

But, sometimes clothes are cheaper here than they are in China, so I buy here.

For childrens clothes and items, we prefer yard sales. We get some fantastic buys and the kid never cares.

If I had direct contacts in Vietnam, I'd buy from there, too, if cheaper.

Not much point in letting someone else get the markup for clothes.

For some items, I'll look for quality and don't always choose the cheapest.

My auto tires are Goodyears, for example.

Almost all electronics have some Chinese components, so I don't really pay much attention to that anymore.

Their quality is fine now, but I don't really need expensive electronics.