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Are people willing to pay more for an American product?

For years, survey results have shown that somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of respondents will answer that, when given the choice between an American product and one from a foreign country, they will choose the one from the U.S.A. On these same surveys, the respondents claim that they are even willing to pay a little bit more for an American product. 

Industry insiders, i.e. the people who actually sell American products to consumers, scoff at this. While buying American sounds nice in theory, its practice is not borne out by the data. When it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, Americans will ultimately put up as little money as possible. This is why most of the best-selling brands on Amazon are based in China. 

But what if both things are true? What if Americans genuinely want to spend their cash supporting American businesses but also end up buying foreign goods instead? 

Hear me out.

What we have here might be a classic chicken-or-the-egg problem. The highest performing products on Amazon may be relatively cheap goods from China, which is an indicator that they sell better than American counterparts. However, that also means that those products are what American consumers see when they go to to make a purchase. Placement in search results is driven primarily by sales. If you search for a product on Amazon and all you see are Chinese versions of that product, those are the ones you are going to choose from. To update an old internet adage: “The best place to hide a dead body is page two of Amazon search results.”

So, Americans may really want to buy American products. But how is one to find them?

There is no good answer to this. There is no online rival to Amazon that only supports listings of American goods, nor is there a way to filter search results so as to only see products from American-owned companies. 

The best thing that you, as a socially conscious American shopper can do, is to help spread awareness of U.S. brands. 

Be vigilant when you come across American brands, whether it is in your regular Amazon shopping or somewhere on social media or even in your daily life. Support these brands. Talk up these brands among your friends.

By buying one product from an American company and writing a product review, granted, you will not single-handedly shoot it up to the top of page one of the search results. But at least it is a start. Furthermore, if you become a vocal supporter of that brand, both online and off, you can potentially set off a trend. Your first few ripples can result down the line in a big wave. 

Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If you support American companies like Expersion, you can play a small role in realizing that change. In an ideal world, customers will be presented with a legitimate choice between American companies and those based in China. And you can help make it happen. 

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