October 17, 2007 / 11:08 AM / 12 years ago

Most U.S. consumers plan to shun China-made toys

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Three-quarters of U.S. consumers plan to shun toys made in China this holiday season, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll.

Labourers work at a production line at a toy factory in Panyu, south China's Guangdong province, September 4, 2007. Three-quarters of U.S. consumers plan to shun toys made in China this holiday season, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll. REUTERS/Aly Song

Of almost 1,000 people polled, 75.8 percent said they would not buy Chinese-made toys.

The results come in the wake of several high-profile recalls this year of toys made in China that either contained lead or small magnets.

“There are always caveats, but there is no question that there is an anti-Chinese product sentiment today that really did not exist a year ago,” said John Zogby, president and chief executive of Zogby International, which conducted the poll for Reuters.

But while the sentiment is strong, it may not necessarily reflect actual buying behavior, he said.

“Do they flip the toy around and do they look on the side of the box to see if it’s made in China?” Zogby asked, adding that significantly lower prices for a toy made in China could also affect consumers’ decisions.

As for holiday spending overall, half of those polled — 49.8 percent — said they planned to send about the same on gifts as they did last year, while 31.1 percent said they planned to spend a little or a lot less. Only 18.3 percent said they planned to spend a little or a lot more.

“There’s economic anxiety out there,” Zogby said.

The results were in line with other retail surveys and forecasts for the holiday season.

The National Retail Federation, for example, said on Tuesday U.S. shoppers plan to spend 3.7 percent more on holiday-related items than they did in 2006, almost half the 7.2 percent planned increase last year.

Consumer experiences in grocery stores also appear to match up with the price increases manufacturers have posted to cope with higher costs for ingredients ranging from wheat to milk.

More than 80 percent of respondents said they are spending more at grocery stores than they did last year, with 28.6 saying they are spending a lot more and 53.2 percent saying “a little more.”

The poll was conducted October 10-14 and 991 likely voters responded. The poll has a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

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