Thirty-nine percent of Americans who are aware of factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 people say they will be less inclined to buy clothes made in Bangladesh going forward, finds Harris Interactive survey

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Jun 3, 2013 – Harris Interactive Inc.

NEW YORK , June 3, 2013 (press release) – But, over half of Americans do not look to see where clothes are made

The images were horrific and when the search and rescue/recovery was done, over 1,100 factory workers had died in the building collapse in Bangladesh last month. As many of the workers were laboring to make cheap clothes for Americans, the cry to avoid clothes made by some of these manufacturers, or even to avoid any products made in Bangladesh, until conditions improve has started. In light of this, it is interesting to note that over half of Americans (56%) do not look to see where clothing items are manufactured before making purchases, while 44% do.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,052 U.S. adults surveyed online between May 14 and 16, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

Americans are aware about what happened. Seven in ten (69%) U.S. adults had heard about the building collapse, with older Americans (76% of 45-54 year olds and 86% of those 55+) more likely to have heard than those younger (49% of 18-34 year olds and 60% of 35-44 year olds). And, among those aware of the collapse, more than nine in ten (92%) are aware that it killed hundreds of clothing industry workers.

Changing purchasing habits

While half (52%) of those aware that the collapse killed clothing workers say they will be no more or less likely to purchase clothes made in Bangladesh, almost half say their likelihood to do so will change. Almost two in five (39%) say they will be less likely to buy clothes made in Bangladesh and one in ten (9%) say they will be more likely to do so.

There are some interesting demographic differences in how this purchase behavior will change. Men are more likely than women to say it will not make them more or less likely (56% vs. 48%), while women are more likely to say it will make them less likely to purchase (42% vs. 34%). Having a child in the household also appears to be a factor, as those without children are more likely than those with to say they will be less likely to purchase clothes made in Bangladesh (42% vs. 29%).

There is also an interesting age difference, and this may indicate a new type of activism. While just 5% of those ages 55 and older say they will be more likely to purchase clothes made in Bangladesh, that number jumps to 18% of younger Americans aged 18-34. In the past, when things like this happen, Americans would "blame the country" and stop purchasing goods from there. Younger Americans are more intertwined with a global sense of community. This higher likelihood to purchase could be a sign that they are concerned about the workers themselves - if no one is buying the clothes, those who survived may find themselves out of work and in worse shape than just having poor working conditions.


TABLE 1

LOOKING AT WHERE CLOTHES ARE MADE

"Do you typically look to see where clothing items were made before making purchases? Please select all that apply."

Base: U.S. Adults

 

Total

Gender

Has child in household

Male

Female

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

%

Yes (NET)

44

47

42

40

46

Yes, I check clothing labels for this when shopping in stores

39

40

38

35

41

Yes, I check clothing labels for this when shopping online

19

22

17

18

20

No

56

53

58

60

54

Note: Multiple responses allowed

 

TABLE 2

HEARD ABOUT BUILDING COLLAPSE IN BANGLADESH

"Have you heard about the recent building collapse in Bangladesh?"

Base: U.S. Adults

 

Total

Age

Has child in household

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

69

49

60

76

86

58

73

No

31

51

40

24

14

42

27

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 TABLE 3

AWARE OF DEATHS

"And were you aware the collapse in Bangladesh killed hundreds of clothing industry workers?"

Base: Aware of recent building collapse

 

Total

Age

Has child in household

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

92

86

87

92

95

86

93

No

8

14

13

8

5

14

7

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 4

CHANGING PURCHASE HABITS

"How, if at all, has this impacted your likelihood to buy clothes made in Bangladesh?"

Base: Aware the collapse killed clothing workers

 

Total

Gender

Has child in household

Age

Male

Female

Yes

No

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

MORE LIKELY (NET)

9

10

9

13

8

18

11

10

5

Much more likely

5

6

4

7

4

6

7

6

3

Somewhat more likely

5

4

5

6

4

12

4

4

2

No more or less likely

52

56

48

58

50

50

56

50

52

LESS LIKELY (NET)

39

34

42

29

42

32

32

39

43

Somewhat less likely

19

17

21

16

20

20

16

19

19

Much less likely

20

18

22

13

22

12

16

21

24

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 14 and 16, 2013 among 2,052 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll ® #31, June 3, 2013

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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