Does country of manufacture still matter to Australian consumers? In a day and age where it’s not only easy but often cheaper to purchase goods online from an overseas retailer, and where international brands are widely available in local bricks-and-mortar stores, shopping knows no borders. Even so, an increasing proportion of us say we’re more likely to buy a product if it’s made in Australia, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.
In the 12 months to September 2015, 89.2% of Australians aged 14+ said they’d be more likely to buy products made in Australia — an improvement on 2013, when it was 85.6%. But while Australia remains the population’s hands-down number one preference, several other countries of origin found increased favour over the same time period.
Growing numbers of consumers say they’d be more likely to buy goods made in Canada (51.5%, up from 42.6% in 2013), Sweden (44.1%, up from 36.3%), France (40.9%, up from 32.5%) and Spain (27.8%, up from 21.3%). While these countries saw the biggest improvement in public approval, traditionally less well regarded nations such as India (15.8%, up from 12.8%), South Africa (21.1%, up from 16.5%) and Chile (13.5%, up from 9.6%) are also being seen in a more positive light by Australian shoppers.
% of Australians more likely to buy products depending on country of origin
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014 – September 2015 (n=15,668).
Meanwhile, heavy-hitters the United States (58.7%, up from 53.9%), the United Kingdom (57.6%, up from 51.8%) and New Zealand (56.9%, up from 50.3%) bounced back from temporary dips in popularity during 2013, hitting their highest approval ratings in years.
The nation’s top trading partner, China, was one of the few countries that lost support over the last few years.
A home-grown love affair
Australians’ renewed preference for ‘home-grown’ shopping is even more striking when we look at specific product categories. Compared with the same time in 2013, increased proportions of the population say they’d be more likely to buy clothes, food, electrical goods, sporting goods and wine if they were labelled ‘Made in Australia’.
% of people more likely to buy products made in Australia: 2013 vs 2015
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012 – September 2013 (n=19,585) and October 2014 – September 2015 (n=15,668).
Two years ago, 72.7% of Aussies 14+ said they’d be more likely to buy clothing manufactured in Australia. By September 2015, this had crept up to 76.0%. Locally produced sporting goods experienced a similar rise (from 58.1% to 61.6%).
Aussie-made motor vehicles didn’t fare quite so well, which is not surprising given the pending closures of Ford, Holden and Toyota’s domestic manufacturing plants.
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“In encouraging news for the country’s manufacturing sector, the love affair between Australians and Aussie-made products shows no sign of fading. In fact, it’s the healthiest it’s been for two years, with nine in every 10 Australians saying they’re more likely to buy products made in Australia.
“Alongside our renewed enthusiasm for Australian-made goods, we are becoming increasingly open to, and comfortable with, the idea of buying foreign-made products. Online shopping has broadened our retail horizons, enabling us to purchase items made in all corners of the globe. (It’s worth remembering, however, that the majority of online shoppers in most product categories still buy from local sites.) International retailers with a bricks-and-mortar presence in Australia have also boosted our perception of foreign-made products.
“Curiously, despite signing a Free Trade Agreement with Australia in 2014, Japan has slipped from fifth to sixth-most popular country of origin for products we’re more likely to buy. The popularity of Chinese-made products has also slipped over the last 12 months, resulting in China dipping from tenth to eleventh place. This makes Japan the only Asian country of manufacture in the top 10, so it will be interesting to see whether this slump is temporary or indicative of a wider shift in Australians’ shopping attitudes…”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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