Made in China! Made in Japan! Made in America!. These labels appear on clothing, cars, and even foods. When I was in the market for a new car, people told me to stay away from certain vehicles because of the country of origin. In my first job in retail, people would complain to me about the number of items made in China. They expressed their disgust with Walmart having many china items, and some asked explicitly for things made in America. So, should brands care about the country of origin?
“81% of Americans prefer a Japanese product to a Chinese one.”
Country of Origin Effects
I love fashion, and I am a bit of a shopaholic sometimes, so I will use fashion as an example to explain country of origin effects. It seems like every time I check my Instagram account; I am exposed to a new clothing company. Most are fast-fashion clothing, low quality, and easily duplicated. The same piece of clothing appears on several websites. Companies such as fashion nova are known to make an outfit within 24 hours after being spotted on A-List celebrity. However, most of these companies have a bad reputation, and their association with China is why most will not consider buying from them. Wish, Aliexpress, Alibaba, and Shein are popular, but countless YouTube videos have been made about the “China-made clothing.” Wish has a ton of memes making fun of the clothing people ordered vs. what they got.
There are several ways that brands can overcome country of origin effects. Brands can build a strong reputation, credibility, and produce high-quality products, push and promote their best products but shouldn’t neglect their underperforming products. Brands/companies can collaborate with well-known industry players.