The coronavirus pandemic forced many Australians to reassess their spending habits, but none more than the country’s Baby Boomers. With a struggling economy and rising unemployment in 2020, the demand for Australian-made goods skyrocketed.
Australians’ trust in the green and gold Australian Made logo is at an all-time high. Recent Roy Morgan research revealed 97 per cent of Australians associate the iconic kangaroo with the support of local jobs and employment opportunities, safe and high-quality products (95 per cent), the use of ethical labour (89 per cent) and sustainability (78 per cent).
The study, which surveyed 50,000 Australians, also looked into how the country’s shopping habits had changed and found a staggering number of us were now prioritising Australian-made goods, particularly over Chinese-made products.
The data showed 93 per cent of Australians were more likely to buy products made in Australia – up 6 per cent from 87 per cent a year earlier. Meanwhile, the preference for Chinese-made goods dropped 9 per cent from 2019, with only 21 per cent of Australians saying they’d be more likely to buy products made in China.
New Zealand-made products were our second choice with 55 per cent of Australians choosing to buy from our neighbours over any other foreign country, despite a 4 per cent fall from 2019.
“Although the preference for Australian-made goods is very high across all age groups it is Baby Boomers (96 per cent) … who are even more likely to prefer Australian-made products than other generations,” Levine says.
“The closure of international borders and restrictions on travel around the world appears to have helped increase support for Australian-made goods at the expense of overseas products.”
She says it is unsurprising Chinese-made goods have fallen the most in preference, with more than half (58 per cent) of Australians saying they would be less likely to buy a product that is ‘made in China’.
Despite over 30 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade valued at $264 billion in 2019-20 being with China, relations between the two countries have deteriorated. China slapped tariffs and import restrictions on a range of Australian goods including wine, barley, lobsters, coal, timber, red meat and cotton after the Australian Government requested an investigation into the origins of Covid-19.
“However, Australia’s largest export to China – iron ore – has remained untouched by any restrictions and the price of the key commodity has surged to a record of over $200 USD per tonne – around $260 AUD per tonne. The surging price of iron ore, and other commodities such as copper, silver and agricultural products, has contributed to record Australian trade surpluses over the last year and supported growth in the Australian economy despite the pandemic,” Levine says.
Ben Lazzaro, Australian Made chief executive, says Roy Morgan’s latest research comes as no surprise, as more and more Australians are looking to the green and gold Australian Made logo to find authentic Australian-made goods.
The research also found that if every household spent an additional $10 a week on Australian-made products, it would inject an extra $5 billion into the economy each year and create up to 11,000 new jobs.
“Australia’s over-reliance on imported products has been highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Lazzaro says.
“This research shows Australians are placing priority on manufacturing self-sufficiency and job creation along with a renewed appetite to address the imbalance between locally made and imported products to ensure Australia’s long-term prosperity.
“When you buy Australian-made, Australian grown products, you know what you are getting — products made to the highest of manufacturing standards and grown in our clean, green environment. At the same time, you are helping to support our manufacturing industry, creating Aussie jobs and giving back to local communities.”
The research was released to coincide with the first Australian Made Week, an initiative celebrating and supporting local makers and growers. Running from May 24-30, Lazzaro says all Australians are encouraged to spend a little extra on Australian-made goods when they shop.
“[Australian Made Week]’s an opportunity to focus on the benefits of buying local and highlight that when you buy Australian-made, you have a direct economic impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Australians throughout the supply chain,” he says.
“Even making a small change in your weekly shopping can create a huge difference for local businesses.”
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