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Chinese-made clothes, electrical goods, mobile phones, footwear, and sporting goods lose favour among Australians

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Apr 2019-Mar 2020, n=48,935, Apr 2021-Mar 2022; n=65,365. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they would be more likely or less likely to buy each type of product ‘made in China’.
New research by Roy Morgan shows Australians are less likely than pre-pandemic to buy products across a wide range of industries if they know the product is ‘Made in China’.

The largest declines were for clothes, electrical goods, mobile phones, footwear and sporting goods with preference for these products falling between 2%-6% points during the pandemic years of 2020-21.

Clothes are still the most ‘popular’ product for Australians that is ‘Made in China’. However, in March 2022 only 25% of Australians said they’d be more likely to buy clothes if they knew the clothes were ‘Made in China’, down 4% points from March 2020.

The same trend was evident for Chinese-made electrical goods with 23% (down 5% points from 2020) of Australians saying they’d be more likely to buy the product if they knew it was ‘Made in China’, mobile phones on 21% (down 6%), footwear on 17% (down 5%) and sporting goods on 15% (down 2%).

However, there were some products for which sentiment did improve slightly during the pandemic of the last two years but which only a minority of Australians indicated they’d be more likely to buy if they knew the product was ‘Made in China’. These products included motor vehicles on 12% (up 2% from 2020), food on 10% (up 4%), cosmetics and skin care products both on 8% (up 2%) and wine on 7% (up 3%).

These results are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from comprehensive in-depth interviews with over 1,000 Australians each week and around 60,000 Australians per year.

% of people more likely to buy each product if it was made in China: 2020 vs. 2022

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Apr 2019-Mar 2020, n=48,935, Apr 2021-Mar 2022; n=65,365. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they would be more likely or less likely to buy each type of product ‘made in China’.

The preference for many Chinese-made goods dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic of the last two years despite the country being easily Australia’s largest two-way trading partner valued at $258 billion in 2020 says Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine:


“The latest Roy Morgan research into preference for Australian-made goods showed that a high 96% of Australians in March 2022 say they would be more likely to buy a product if they knew it was ‘Made in Australia’ – up 9% points from early in 2020.

“However, the sharp increase in preference for home-grown products over the last two years as Australia battled the COVID-19 pandemic – and a series of lockdowns around the country – has been mirrored by a plunge in preference for products from Australia’s largest trading partner China.

“Looking at all products now only 21% of Australians say they would be more likely to buy a product they knew was ‘Made in China’ – down a large 8% points from two years ago just before the pandemic began. This large drop in preference for general goods ‘Made in China’ is reflected in several different product categories – especially those of the most popular consumer goods Australia imports from China.

“Now just 21% of Australians would be more likely to buy mobile phones if they knew they were ‘Made in China’ – down 6% points from two years ago – the largest decline of any product during the pandemic. Also down sharply are preferences for electrical goods ‘Made in China’ – down 5% points to 23%, footwear – down 5% points to 17% and clothes – down 4% points to 25%.

“The two-way trading relationship between the two countries is heavily weighted in Australia’s favour. Australian exports to China (including Hong Kong) amounted to  $169 billion in 2020, while Australia imported $89.5 billion in return: a trade surplus of around $80 billion – which is larger than the two-way trade between Australia and any other country by itself.

“The tensions between the two countries that emerged in recent years increased after the former Coalition Government led by Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 early in the pandemic. The Chinese Government responded to this request by enforcing tariffs and import restrictions on many Australian goods such as wine, lobsters, coal, timber and red meat.

“The defeat of the Coalition Government at last month’s Federal Election has opened the possibility that relations between the two countries may now be able to improve under the new ALP Government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.”

[1]*Australia’s leading trading partner in 2020 according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is China including Hong Kong) ($258.5bn). Exports to the value of $169.0 billion (China: $160.2 billion) and Hong Kong ($8.8 billion); Imports to the value of $89.5 billion (China: $86.0 billion) and Hong Kong ($3.5 billion). DFAT: https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/australias-goods-and-services-by-top-15-partners-2020.pdf

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2