ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) — A new study finds that Americans tend to place undue value on clothing that was made in the United States, especially when compared to clothes manufactured in other countries.
The study, conducted at the University of Missouri, found that domestic consumers react especially to the appearance of “made in USA” on the label, Missourinet reports. And researchers, including Professor Jung Ha-Brookshire, feel that American shoppers should better educate themselves about the value of products, rather than making decisions solely based on where clothing was made.
According to Ha-Brookshire, Americans perceive clothing made in the country as superior – even when that may not necessarily be the case.
“The bigger picture is that consumers over-value the U.S. components of manufactured clothing,” she was quoted as saying by Missourinet.
The study was conducted by taking two identical shirts made of the same material, and placing a “made in USA” tag inside of one, according to the website. Researchers then asked participants which shirt cost more – and in most cases, people thought the American shirt cost more to make.
“”[Ha-Brookshire] showed participants a cotton shirt, told them it was made in China, and said it sold for $40 in retail stores. She then showed them the same piece of clothing and told them it was made in the U.S. with U.S. cotton,” a press release on the school’s website further explained. “The study participants valued the U.S. cotton shirt at $57, which is more than 42 percent higher than the same shirt produced in China.”
The catch is that most people, believing the American-made shirt to be too expensive, would opt to purchase the shirt made outside the country in an effort to save money.
Added Ha-Brookshire, “If [retailers and manufacturers] don’t communicate their realistic pricing strategy well with their consumers … the consumers extremely over- value U.S. components, U.S. labor and U.S. materials.”
According to the release, the study was published in the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal.