“Made in USA” Gains Traction, Especially with Luxury Shoppers

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Chrysler was clearly onto something when it launched its breakthrough “Imported from Detroit” campaign. Sales spiked, leading the company to launch phase 2. Explaining the positioning, Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois told brandchannel, “American coolness is essential to our strategy, because that’s exactly what imports do not have, and some other American [luxury] brands don’t have as well.” 

Chrysler isn’t the only one latching on to the rising “Made in USA” star. In March, we reported on the website, MadeInUSAForever.com which was bootstrapped by Todd Lipscomb. He told CNN, “I saw this terrible need in our nation for a real alternative to buy American made products. … It’s a virtuous circle of economic activity that’s caused by buying American made.” Lipscomb has seen his website business grow at over 40% per year.

Many other brands are following suit, according to Bloomberg. Joseph Abboud, the maker of menswear, proudly displays a “Made in USA” moniker on its website. Brooks Brothers waves a “Made in America” banner and boasts of its factories in the US. Mark Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion brand, The Row, promotes its American-made line.[more]

Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, told Bloomberg, “Made in America feeds into the values proposition. They are voting with their money not just for US jobs, but for a way of life.”

Traditionally, it has been the lower end brands that have leveraged the appeal of American-made, but now luxury brands have picked up the theme. Fashion brands like Tiffany are making sure its upscale clientele know that over half of its jewelry is made by the luxury retailer itself, and all of it is created in the United States. 

Luxury goods shoppers seem to be taking to the patriotic message. Maybe they’re tired of spending money on imported goods that they perceive as inferior — or maybe they see the wisdom of supporting American business.

Whatever the reason, Bain & Co. reports that nearly two thirds of wealthy consumers indicate they will buy American-made goods whenever they can. An American Express Publishing/Harrison Group survey conducted this year showed that more than 75% of wealthy consumers like brands made in America, and 65% of them buy American-made products whenever possible.

There is an underlying issue, though: If a brand claims to be “Made in U.S.A.,” it had better be true. Otherwise it will find itself with some very American egg on its face, as did GAP, who was forced to apologize for its Made in U.S.A. (but really made in China) gaffe late last year.

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