A clear indicator that a trend is gaining momentum is support by diverse interest groups. This is happening with the trend of buying locally produced goods. I got multiple responses to my post on Conscious Consumers, which mentions that consumers are getting more interested in buying products made in the USA. Through this feedback I found out about a range of made in the USA sites and resouces, including:
- The Made by Yankees blog which covers products made in the US. They also have a made in the USA product finder.
- The Made in the USA blog which also covers made in the USA products.
- China Free Christmas blog which focuses on toys and where they are made.
- Made in the USA magazine.
Obviously support for products made in America and efforts to reduce foreign imports are nothing new. Leading up to the Boston Tea Party, US patriot and tea smuggler John Hancock organized a very effective boycott of Chinese tea imported by his foreign competitor, the East India Company.
What is interesting is how many different consumer segments are involved in the buy local movement. These include:
- Buy American types who are worried about the US economy and job loss.
- Safety types who are worried about unsafe and/or inferior foreign made products. I've posted in the past on the growth of local food production, which is in part driven by safety concerns.
- Environmentalists who see buying locally as more sustainable. Bill McKibben's book Deep Economy covers this trend.
- Consumers who are looking for unique, one of a kind or handcrafted products. This growing consumer segment often looks to local or regional producers for these goods.
We're not the only ones seeing a trend toward localism. Nokia just released a study looking at the future of entertainment and one of their key trends was localism. From their study release:
"The report uncovered a locally-minded sprit emerging in entertainment consumption and Localism will become a key theme of future entertainment. Consumers will take pride in seeking out the local and home-grown."
The growing coalition of consumers who are increasingly interested in buying local, coupled with new and cheaper technologies that better enable local production, is resulting in a range of new small business opportunities. We will be covering this trend in more detail in our next forecast report.