There’s a growing demand to buy British, but consumers don’t know where to find British-made products, according to new research. Our guest author and founder of campaign group Make it British explains more…
Between January and April this year, we asked over 1,000 people if they would be willing to pay more for British-made products compared to buying a similar product made outside the UK. The response was staggering.
Just over 90% of shoppers said they would be willing to pay more for British-made goods. This study, the biggest of its kind, shows that there’s a growing desire among Brits to buy locally – fuelled, perhaps, by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Our research revealed that since Brexit, half of all shoppers are trying to buy more British-made products. And that people think products made in the UK are better quality and worth paying more for: 77% said that if they knew a product was made in Britain, they would believe it to be of good quality.
British-made stands for quality and shoppers are willing to pay more for a product they can trust. But it’s often impossible for them to find out if a product is made in Britain. It’s often easier with food, where Red Tractor and British meat labeling helps customers understand where a product has come from. But the same isn’t true for other products, such as clothes.
Brands could play a more active role in effectively marketing their products as British. Information needs to be clear, visible and easily accessible, both in store and online. Shoppers have the option to filter online by attributes such as price, brand or colour. Similarly, retailers should give e-commerce consumers the ability to filter for products made in Britain.
UK manufacturers could help themselves, too, by being more visible to consumers. Take Johnstons of Elgin, for example. It is one of the oldest textile manufacturers in the UK and has been making fine woollen cloth, knitwear and accessories in Scotland since 1797.
It has an open-door policy, which means that you can visit its factory to see where your jumper is being knitted. We could do with more UK manufacturers following Johnstons of Elgin’s lead.
Manufacturing is thriving
Many people are unaware that Britain still has a thriving manufacturing base. Last year, for example, over £2 billion worth of textiles was produced in the UK. And through setting up Make it British in 2011, I’ve met countless success stories.
Take Tiffany Rose. This British maternity wear brand was launched by mum-of-two, Tiffany London, in 2003, and has just won the Queen’s Award for International Trade for the second time in five years.
From humble beginnings – a kitchen table in Tiffany’s south London apartment and access to just £600 on a credit card – the business now turns over £3.1m and operates from its head office in Surrey. From here, orders are shipped to 120 countries and over 100 boutiques.
And on 23 and 24 May, our Make It British Live! trade show at the Truman Brewery, London will exclusively showcase over 200 British manufacturers and producers such asTiffany Rose. British producers are thriving – but more can and should be done to support them.
Would you pay more for British made goods (vote in our poll below)? Does ‘made in Britain’ signify quality? And does Brexit encourage you to buy British?
This is a guest article by Kate Hills. All views expressed here are Kate’s own and not necessarily also shared by Which?
Would you pay a bit more for a product if it were made in Britain?
Yes (83%, 44 Votes)
No (17%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 53