Surprising new research indicates that the generation that grew up with Chinese-made toys and trendy European imports may be the most passionate about "made in America" products.
A Ford Motor Company poll found that 91 percent of millennials believe American manufacturers make products of equal or better quality as foreign competitors. In addition, 74 percent believe purchasing American-made products is important.
Millennials, who fall between the ages 16 and 34, are breaking their parents' trend of buying foreign-made cars, Ford said in a press release. In the poll, 45 percent chose American models, while 33 percent chose European and 22 percent Asian.
A staggering 79 percent of millennials prioritize quality over appearance. The Wall Street Journal has found that sales of pick-up trucks — Ford's F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram — top 2015 car sales.
The "Made in the U.S.A." label, according to the Federal Trade Commission, means all parts and processing of a product are domestic. But young consumers will have to do research to find totally American products, since American companies often manufacture in other countries. The FTC requires only certain products to disclose domestically-made content. Others can use the patriotic labels but risk penalty if their claims are inaccurate.
A watchdog group recently accused Walmart of falsely advertising more than 100 products. For example, Walmart.com promoted store-brand makeup wedges as "Made in the U.S.A." even though the packaging read "Made in China." Walmart responded by saying that manufacturing for the detailed store-brand products moved to the U.S., but some stores may contain foreign-made versions. The retail giant has since updated its online manufacturing information.
Ironically, some foreign products are more likely than domestic ones to be manufactured in the U.S. According to the 2015 American Automobile Labeling Act report, Japan's Toyota Camry undergoes 75 percent U.S. production. By comparison, the American Ford Fusion has only 25 percent domestic production. But manufacturing locations vary by model: The Prius is completely foreign-made, while the Ford F-150 is 70 percent American-made.
If millennials truly favor American products, they will have to be discerning — even with domestic companies.Emily Leayman is an intern at the Washington Examiner