Why Walmart and Marriott Buy American-Made Towels
Recent surveys have shown eight out 10 Americans would prefer to buy a product that is made in the U.S. rather than an imported product, even if that product costs 10 percent more than the import. It is debatable whether this translates to point of sale, but it is clear buying American is on the consuming public’s conscience. The current political environment only further reinforces this shift in consumer preference.
One of Walmart’s best selling towel products is its "Made Here" towel collection, made by Griffin, Georgia-based 1888 Mills. It is Walmart’s highest quality towel and positioned at its highest price point. According to Walmart, the consumer is responding to both its U.S.-made aspect and its quality.
Marriott hotels has made a move to have only U.S.-made towels in all its nearly 3,000 U.S. properties, from Marriott Courtyard to the Ritz Carlton. Bill Marriott, executive chairman of Marriott International, stated that "this provides a certain amount of pride to all our associates and management.” He went to say that the move to U.S.-made products will not be more costly than an imports. The gap in the cost of manufacturing overseas on less labor-intensive products, such as towels, has narrowed due to the higher cost of labor, compliance and transportation related to foreign production.
Social and safety compliance are other aspects that make buying U.S.-made products attractive. In the promotional products industry, social and safety compliance have become front and center. American factories are closely monitored at both the state and local levels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This negates the need for costly overseas factory inspections. With U.S.-made products come a certain confidence and comfort level that you will get what you purchased.
The last and possibly most important aspect of buying U.S.-made products is the economy. The majority of product sold in the promo industry comes from China.
Estimates show that more than 90 percent of all promotional products—a staggering amount—are made overseas. In 2015, the U.S. had a $366 billion trade deficit with China alone. Every dollar spent on U.S.-made product does truly help our economy.