Buying Responsibly: Americans Talk A Better Game Than They Play

April 26, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 4/21/2012) Ask Americans if they are willing to spend more to buy American-made products, and nearly half say they are often willing to do this. But in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, the country where a product is made trails price, quality, and even convenience, as an important factor in consumer decision-making. The public gives even less importance to a product’s brand, its impact on the environment, or the political leanings of the company that produces it.

Republicans are especially price-sensitive, as are those with incomes below $100,000 a year. Those with incomes over $100,000 are far more likely to say quality (92%) is important than to say price is, though 58% of them also say price matters. More conservatives than liberals and more older adults than younger ones say where a product is made is very important.

Most Americans — whether Republican, Democrat or independent — say they don’t care much about the political leanings of a company. Just 13% say they often or always avoid products because of the political leanings of a company. But 45% claim they often are willing to spend more to buy American.

Older Americans, Republicans and conservatives are more likely to say this.

One way of making a political statement is to boycott a product. One in four claim they have done this in the last year; but in this case liberals, not conservatives, seem to be the most active. Nearly four in ten college graduates also say they have boycotted a product for political, environmental, or moral reasons.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association