Editor’s Note July 2017

Whether the President’s focus on bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. will translate into a bump in consumers purchasing home furnishings made in this country remains to be seen. Certainly before the tempestuous election, there was growing interest in buying American — as long as doing so wasn’t cost-prohibitive. China’s omni-presence in Big Business (for example, last month’s purchase of the renowned French crystal manufacturer Baccarat by a Chinese investment firm and last fall’s 25-percent stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings, among others) has also raised the domestic hackles of many American consumers, who are opting to fight back with their discretionary dollars.

According to a report released by the market research firm NPD Group: “Americans are expressing their national pride, and looking for ‘Made in the USA’ labels on the products they buy. Nearly 80 percent of shoppers said it is ‘important’ to them to some degree, with almost half (44 percent) stating it is ‘extremely or very important’ that the products they buy be made in the USA — even higher for those age 45 or older. But when asked if they would pay more for a product that was made in the USA, less than one-quarter (23 percent) said they are willing to spend the extra money all or most of the time. Half of shoppers said they would sometimes be willing to pay more for products made in the USA, which is likely dependent on what they are buying.”

In addition, Retail Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen of NPD noted, “2017 will be the year that country of origin will take a significant step forward in terms of both consumer responsiveness and becoming part of the marketing DNA of the product.”

Regardless of patriotism, one of the aspects that resonates most with consumers is the uniqueness of American-made lighting and furniture products, which typically are crafted from natural materials (i.e. reclaimed wood, blown glass, hand-forged metal) on site. Offering designs that can’t be found in countless variations at home centers, mass merchants, or on every home décor Web site provides real value to today’s discriminating consumer.
At the same time, it can help differentiate a lighting store from its competition.

This issue will serve as a handy reference of domestic manufacturers who are operating in our industry, many of whom do not exhibit at any major market. There are many more out there, quite possibly within driving distance of your store. Consider collaborating with small, local artisans as a way of further distinguishing your assortment.

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