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How Buyers Will React to Tariffs on Consumer Goods

US China trade
How Buyers Will React to Tariffs on Consumer Goods

A new survey of nearly 31,000 consumers found half of Americans will change their shopping habits due to impending tariffs on consumer goods. Shopkick, a mobile shopping-rewards app, found that 44% of respondents would reduce their shopping, while 25% said they would switch to American-made goods. It also found some generational differences in how consumers would adapt.

“While the arrival and scope of the tariffs remain uncertain, it’s clear that consumers are thinking ahead and plan to adjust their shopping habits and destinations, ushering in a new age of consumer shopping habits that American retailers will be forced to adapt to,” Shopkick wrote.

Press release follows:

Shopkick, the leading shopping rewards app, surveyed users to gain insight into consumer awareness and behavioral changes in light of the impending Trump Administration tariffs. In a survey of over 30,000 consumers, 60 percent say they will adjust the retailers at which they shop if the impending tariffs go into effect.

New rounds of tariffs being placed on imports from China will result in raised prices on consumer goods, increases reaching a high of ten percent.

Of the 60 percent of consumers aware of the impending tariffs, nearly 40 percent report having already seen prices increasing on shelves. Thirty-eight percent of shoppers expect a household cost increase of up to $500, and thirty percent anticipate an increase of over $1,000.

Additional reported behavioral changes should the tariffs hit the U.S. include:

  • Sixty percent plan to adjust retailers they frequent
  • Forty-four percent plan to cut down on shopping
  • Twenty-nine percent are stocking up on goods now
  • Twenty-five percent will make the switch to American-made goods

Additionally, Shopkick found that awareness level differs by generation:

  • Only 34 percent of Gen Z respondents are aware of tariffs, compared to 74 percent of Boomers
  • Fifty percent of Millennials plan to cut down on spending compared to 38 percent of Boomers; the majority 62 percent of Boomers will seek alternative options to cut costs
  • Forty percent of Millennials anticipate tariffs would cost their household up to $500 annually while 31 percent of Gen Z estimated the same monetary impact

If the tariffs announced by the current administration are implemented, annualized consumer cost is likely to double. While the arrival and scope of the tariffs remain uncertain, it’s clear that consumers are thinking ahead and plan to adjust their shopping habits and destinations, ushering in a new age of consumer shopping habits that American retailers will be forced to adapt to.

Shopkick conducted a survey of 30,799 users to gain insights into consumer awareness and behavioral changes in light of the impending tariffs on imported goods into the U.S. The survey was conducted from June 28, 2019 to June 30, 2019.

SOURCE: Shopkick Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

11 thoughts on “How Buyers Will React to Tariffs on Consumer Goods”

  1. At 77 years old there is hardly anything out there that I don’t already have or have thrown away. So I don’t care about the tariffs.

  2. For over a decade I have urged my blog readers to stop buying anything from China where possible. Despite stupidity from Congress, China is our biggest threat & have been stealing/undermining the US for years. It devotes an entire government department to cyber spying-on the US & its stated goal is to remove us as the world leader, yet Americans continue funding their goal via purchases. The US needs to become more self sufficient again and we can do that. The so-called global economy has more often hurt US workers than help.

  3. Personally, I’m hoping this will encourage buyers to buy more American products. If they buy more American products, then maybe we can more easily rebuild our own manufacturing industry and take back all the business that was given to China so they could become the menace they are.

    It’s obvious the rest of the world expects us to foot the bill for all the humanitarian efforts around the world, but who’s there to save us? Do we get international help when we experience natural disasters? Nope. We get other Americans from around the country to help our own.

    So, we need to be self-sufficient again like we once were.

    1. I should mention that I live in the area that was hardest hit by Harvey. While we somehow managed to stay high’n’dry (by the grace of God), we could see the devastation all around us. A quarter-mile or less in any direction was under water. Fortunately, we live a bit further away from the two reservoirs that were backing up, but if it had rained even a few more hours, I’m sure we would have been under water, too.

      It was heartwarming to see how so many fellow Americans came from across the country, most especially Louisiana for helping them after Katrina, to help save so many people from the flood waters. The amount of donations that were pouring into makeshift drop-off points were so numerous that they had to start turning away certain items.

      That’s what America is about, but the rest of the world views us in a negative light. So why bother helping them anymore to our own detriment?

  4. More anti American and anti Trump tripe. Was this survey financed by the Chamber of Commerce perhaps? Probably. There is no inflation and no increases on goods from China and there won’t be. Why? Because China manipulates their currency and has had to actually devalue the Yuan to absorb the costs of the tariffs (which should have been put in place years ago) which in turn has increased the value of the US dollar.
    And no, I don’t need or want anymore cheap Chinese crap either. Bring manufacturing back to the US. Help save the environment by NOT importing junk from China, who are the single biggest contributors of dirty carbon emissions and pollution from their manufacturing.
    Quality, environment friendly, American made goods. Win win.

    1. Unfortunately China bought most of the manufacturing equipment from the businesses they put out of business so there is nothing left to help start a manufacturing business in the USA.

      I don’t buy any of the cheap imported stuff from China and have no intentions to do so in the future, tariffs or no tariffs. I have always tried to buy American to try and keep the economy strong.

      1. Well, if our government can GIVE money to wealthy automakers in America to save their sorry butts while elderly people across the States were losing their homes due to predatory behavior on the banking sector’s part (my parents included), then why don’t they dip into their seriously inflated military budget and give America back its manufacturing industry?

  5. Good for all of you posters above me!! You said it perfectly and hit on the most important concerns.

    I’m just over 70, but started years ago deliberately not buying ANYTHING made in China unless there was absolutely no alternative and whatever it was, was absolutely essential. (I don’t buy Mexican fruits or vegetables, either, but that’s another discussion.) USA self sufficiency has almost been lost, in the name of “Cheap” and we need to win it back. If the kiddies would get their noses out of their phones maybe they might begin to see the real world and how they need to pay attention and learn, or they will find themselves speaking Chinese some time in the future?

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