Australian Made products boom despite cost-of-living crisis

by | Jan 18, 2024

Australian Made Logo

The Australian Made Campaign continues to grow substantially off the back of unprecedented growth of locally made products during COVID. As overseas supplies dried up, consumers made it a priority to support locally-made products and this strong support has continued.

While the number of Australian Made licensees coming on board is currently not at the level of growth experienced throughout COVID, Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive Officer Ben Lazzaro says licensee demand is still double that of pre-pandemic levels.

“From an application point of view, pre-pandemic, we might have had two new businesses apply to use the Australian Made logo each day. Now the new normal seems to be around three or four applications per day. Clearly, there is value in the brand, but, as we know businesses are driven by what consumers are doing and what they want. It shows us that consumers are voting with their wallets at the cash register and choosing Australian Made products.”

“Now more than ever, businesses are also certainly seeing the value of being certified Australian Made. The more businesses that certify their products, the more resources the Australian Made Campaign has to promote the benefits of buying locally and keep the green and gold kangaroo top of mind for shoppers,” Mr Lazzaro said. 

The Australian Made logo continues to have an impact on consumers’ buying decisions with around 69 per cent of Australians looking to buy more Australian Made products in the last 12 months, recent Roy Morgan research has found.

Mr Lazzaro says what is even more compelling is that around 73 per cent of Aussies are willing to pay more for Australian Made products during a cost-of-living crisis.

“We certainly understand that not everyone can make that commitment to spend more on locally made products. At the best of times, it is hard to expect consumers to do that but it is pretty pleasing to see that the research does align with what we are seeing from a logo usage and application point-of-view.”

Australian Made Campaign CEO, Ben Lazzaro says licensee demand is still double that of pre-pandemic levels.

“The support is coming from a combination of factors with 97 per cent of Australians associating the logo with local jobs, 93 per cent associating the logo with reliability, 94 per cent associating Australian Made with safety and 90 per cent with ethical labour, which is becoming extremely prominent according to the research,” he said.

Sustainable, eco-friendly products are also associated with the brand and are a trend that is gaining momentum across the board. 

Mr Lazzaro says the green and gold kangaroo branding conveys a lot more to the Australian consumer, which speaks to the value that it provides to those businesses carrying the logo.

“Around 85 per cent of consumers associate the logo with good value. So it is not a cost point of view. It is a value proposition. Consumers see Australian Made products as better, safer, stronger and more durable. After-sales support is also coming into the decision-making process, which is no doubt appealing to every one of us. Some of the feedback we get in our own office when a staff member answers the phone is that there is a surprised voice at the other end of the line and relief that they can speak with someone directly to help solve their problem. This applies to Australian Made businesses too,” he said.

Locally made hardware

Several new Australian Made licensees have recently come on board within the hardware space, including manufacturers of hand tools, axes, ladders, and paint. If a product is seen as high quality and reliable, then it seems to find its way into the Australian Made database, Mr Lazzaro said.

“Things like locally made piping and hosing in the industrial sector are sought out for their reliability. Hose reels, brooms, gardening tools, and a lot of building products such as cladding and insulation are also now licensed. For example, James Hardie has just come on board with several of its cladding, weatherboard and fibre cement products, which is great.”

“In the past, there have been reports of some imported products catching fire or not meeting Australia’s strict safety standards. Developers and builders are mindful of investing in something that is made locally because they know it will meet the required standards and regulations,” he said.

When asked if the mix of Aussie Made to imported products in-store is improving, while Mr Lazzaro says he does not have access to this data specifically, he believes some in-roads have been made.

“I know when I visit my local hardware store I see more and more products with the Australian Made logo than I have previously. It also comes back to the fact that if consumers make the demand for it, then it is more likely that the retailers will respond.”

“A lot of consumers tell us that if more Australian products were made available they would make the locally made choice, but unfortunately, some products are not available with the convenience that consumers require them to be. The challenge is having it available and convenient as well,” he said.

Online marketing

Marketing the Australian Made branding online is crucial to the campaign, with Mr Lazzaro pointing out that its social media platforms are well utilised because consumers often use their mobile devices to conduct product research. 

“Our website is also important in that it is often sourced by businesses who are interested in using the brand and used by customers searching for Australian Made products. Hundreds of thousands of users visit each year. We also manage and curate our social media platforms for over half a million users now.”

Policing and marketing throughout 2024

While over 97 per cent of Australian Made licensees do the right thing most of the time, about three per cent are picked up for minor infringements through third-party audits.

“We retain independent, specialist auditing organisations that randomly audit those that are using the Australian Made logo. The small number of indiscretions that we detect are only minor. We address every single complaint, which is a couple of hundred per year, and most complaints lead to licensees being frivolous. There are not many serious ones,” he said.

Looking to 2024, Australian Made Week will once again take place in May, with a new ambassador yet to
be introduced.

“It is a fantastic initiative, and this is our fourth year. Stay tuned, as this will be a big part of our 2024 campaign. All our usual season campaigns and sector campaigns will be rolled out as well.”

“We also have our new chair in Kate Carnell, former Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, who we are super excited to have on board as well,” Mr Lazzaro concluded.