Among Americans Who Know of Bangladesh Clothing Worker Deaths, Two in Five Less Likely To Purchase Clothes From There

But, over half of Americans do not look to see where clothes are made

Jun 03, 2013, 05:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. (full findings and data tables available here)

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.

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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.

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The Harris Poll® #31, June 3, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

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