Roy Morgan Research
May 10, 2021

Preference for Australian-made goods rises in 2020; but plunges for Chinese-made goods

Topic: Public Opinion
Finding No: 8701

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

A huge majority of 93% of Australians said they are more likely to buy products 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’d be more likely to buy products made in China, a 9% points drop from 2019.

Australian consumers are more likely to buy goods manufactured in nearest neighbour New Zealand on 55% than any other foreign country, despite a fall of 4% 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) and Germany on 46% (down 7% points).

Of Australia’s top ten two-way trading partners in 2019-20* preferences for goods rose for four countries all in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020 led by Singapore 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.

Australia and top ten two-way trading partners (2019-20)*: % of people more likely to buy products depending on country of origin, 2019 vs 2020

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2019, n=50,422 and Jan-Dec 2020, n=61,294. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they would be more likely or less likely to buy products made in each of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam.Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says Australian-made goods enjoyed a surge in 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 2020 with a large majority of 93% of Australians more likely to buy a product that is ‘made in Australia’, up 6% points from 2019. Less than 1% of Australians say 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 the world appears to have helped increase support for Australian-made goods at the expense of overseas products.

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

“Over the last year relations between Australia and China have deteriorated despite the fact over 30% of Australia’s two-way trade valued at $264 billion in 2019/20[1] is with China. In response to Australian requests for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 the Chinese Government has slapped tariffs 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 remain untouched by any restrictions and the price of the key commodity has surged to a record of over $200 USD per tonne – around $260 AUD per tonne. The surging price of iron ore, and other commodities such as copper, silver and agricultural products, has contributed to record Australian trade surpluses over the last year and supported growth in the Australian economy despite the pandemic.

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

[1] *Australia’s leading trading partners in 2019/20 according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Top 10 leading trading partners: 1. China (Including Hong Kong) ($264.3bn), 2. USA ($80.8bn), 3. Japan ($79.1bn), 4. South Korea ($38.9bn), 5. UK ($36.7bn), 6. Singapore ($31.3bn), 7. New Zealand ($28.7bn), 8. India ($26.2bn), 9. Germany ($21.8bn), 10. Malaysia ($21.6bn). DFAT:

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

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