New data from Roy Morgan shows the preference for Australian-made goodsincreased during the COVID-19 impacted 2020, but fell for goods fromAustralia’s largest trading partner China.

A huge majority of 93% of Australians said they are more likely to buyproducts made in Australia – up from 87% a year earlier. The big ‘loser’during 2020 was Chinese-made goods with only 21% of Australians saying they’dbe more likely to buy products made in China, a 9% points drop from 2019.

Australian consumers are more likely to buy goods manufactured in nearestneighbour New Zealand on 55% than any other foreign country, despite a fall of4% points from 2019. Right behind New Zealand is the UK on 51% (down 4%points), USA on 47% (down 7% points), Japan on 46% (down 7% points) andGermany on 46% (down 7% points).

Of Australia’s top ten two-way trading partners in 2019-20* preferences forgoods rose for four countries all in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020 led bySingapore on 34% (up 1% point on 2019), South Korea on 29% (up 1% point),Malaysia on 17% (up 2% points) and India on 17% (up 1% point).

Overall, of twenty-one countries Australians were asked this question about,preference for goods rose for ten countries, fell for another ten countries,and was unchanged for only one country – Spain.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2019, n=50,422and Jan-Dec 2020, n=61,294. Respondents were asked to indicate whether theywould be more likely or less likely to buy products made in each of thefollowing countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India,Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, SouthAfrica, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says Australian-made goods enjoyed a surgein popularity during 2020 as international travel was cut-off while Chinese-made goods experienced the steepest decline in preference of any country:

“Australian-made products have experienced a surge in support during 2020with a large majority of 93% of Australians more likely to buy a product thatis ‘made in Australia’, up 6% points from 2019. Less than 1% of Australianssay they are less likely to buy a product that is ‘made in Australia’unchanged on a year ago.

“The closure of international borders and restrictions on travel around theworld appears to have helped increase support for Australian-made goods at theexpense of overseas products.

“Unsurprisingly it is Chinese-made goods which have fallen the most inpreference and only 21% of Australians say they would be more likely to buy aproduct that is ‘made in China’ – down 9% points from 2019. In addition, aclear majority of 58% of Australians say they would be less likely to buy aproduct that is ‘made in China’ – up 15% points from 2019.

“Over the last year relations between Australia and China have deteriorateddespite the fact over 30% of Australia’s two-way trade valued at $264 billionin 2019/20 [1] is with China. In response to Australian requests for aninvestigation into the origins of COVID-19 the Chinese Government has slappedtariffs and import restrictions on a range of Australian goods including wine,barley, lobsters, coal, timber, red meat and cotton.

“However, Australia’s largest export to China – iron ore – has remainuntouched by any restrictions and the price of the key commodity has surged toa record of over $200 USD per tonne – around $260 AUD per tonne. The surgingprice of iron ore, and other commodities such as copper, silver andagricultural products, has contributed to record Australian trade surplusesover the last year and supported growth in the Australian economy despite thepandemic.

“Although the preference for Australian-made goods is very high across allage groups it is Baby Boomer (96%) and Generation X (94%) who are even morelikely to prefer Australian-made products than other generations.”

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