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How New Tariffs Will Impact American Consumers

image for Kwangmoozaa/Shutterstock
Kwangmoozaa/Shutterstock
  • Starting Sept. 1, the remaining $300 billion in Chinese goods coming into the U.S. will be hit with a 10% tariff.
  • Among the nearly 31,000 shoppers polled in a recent survey, many have already experienced higher prices as a result of the trade tiff between Washington and Beijing.
  • The survey reports that 60% of respondents said they planned to adjust their shopping habits if this latest batch of tariffs are imposed.
  • Nearly 25% of shoppers plan to switch to American-made goods.

Starting Sept. 1, a 10% tariff will be imposed on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports coming into the U.S. despite objections from President Trump's economic advisers. Such moves have a direct impact on American consumers and small businesses. According to the results of a newly released survey, many shoppers are already planning to switch up their spending habits.

Conducted by the shopping rewards app Shopkick between June 28 and June 30, a survey of 30,799 users revealed that 60% said they planned to "adjust the retailers at which they shop" if the tariffs stick. Researchers also found that nearly 40% of that group said they've already noticed increased costs as a result of the Trump administration's trade policies.

This new batch of tariffs is expected to take place just months after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping brokered a trade war "truce" during the G-20 summit in Japan. Prior to that breakthrough, both countries had imposed tariffs on $250B of imported goods.

According to the survey, 38% of shoppers anticipate seeing household costs increase by as much as $500, while 30% expect a spike of more than $1,000 as a result of the ongoing trade war. As a result, businesses of all sizes should gear up for slower sales.

Figures like $250 billion and $300 billion are hard to quantify, but consumers understand that a 10% and 25% tariff on imported goods will drive up costs on many items – which means that American shoppers can expect to see their buying power squeezed.

Researchers said they found that 44% of respondents are planning to curtail their shopping habits. Furthermore, 29% said they were stocking up on items before the next round of tariffs take effect.

Despite the tariffs' intended effect of driving consumers to purchase more American-made goods, researchers found that only 25% are planning to make the switch.

Given the amount of coverage the proposed tariffs have received in recent months, it would be easy to imagine that most people know they're happening – even if they don't understand what they are.

Through Shopkick's survey, researchers found that awareness of the tariffs and how people plan to react to them varied by generation. According to the survey, only 34% of Gen Z members said were aware of existing and proposed tariffs, compared to 74% of baby boomer respondents.

As for how people will react once the Trump administration's latest tariffs take effect, 50% of millennials said they were getting ready to dial back their spending while 38% of boomers said the same. Rather than cut back, a majority of boomers (62%) said they would "seek alternative options to cut costs."

Looking forward, 40% of millennials told researchers that they expected the tariffs to raise their household costs by up to $500 annually, while 31% of Gen Zers anticipated the same amount of impact.

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining Business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. Currently, he is responsible for reviewing tax software and online fax services. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.