Thursday, April 26, 2007

Which Countries Supply the Most to Wal-Mart?

Benjamin Edwards spent a day driving to as many Wal-Marts as he could (he went to 8) and writing down where each product he picked up came from (he picked up 727 items).

Here is a map showing where the most goods came from (the relative size of the country on the map indicates how many goods came from that country).

(Source: Marginal Revolution)


Brian Meier said...

I think that it is amazing how much we import from China. Wal Mart is all about getting the lowest prices and China has goods that are cheaper than any other country. I just read the other day that Wal Mart will begin selling HD DVD Players for $300; imported from China of course. The next closest one is $500. It surprises me how little of Canadian products Wal Mart sells because they are our largest trading partners. I bet this distribution of where products are from in Wal Mart is very similar to other stores as well.

Wilzon said...

I always knew that the United States imported a lot of goods from China but I never knew that it was on this large of a scale. Looking at that chart, Wal Mart imports more of its products from China than from all of the countries combined. I agree with Brian in that I am also surprised that we do not trade more with countries in this hemisphere. All of this leads me to wonder how much of an impact this has on our economy. Would the higher prices of goods outweigh the importance of having more jobs in this country? I would have to assume that lower prices are much more important so much so that most Americans purchase goods made abroad.
Ryan W.

Anonymous said...

This trend, also prevelant in other countries, as I have noticed in some European countries, seems tobe a trend that the United States will follow for some time. As the world gets smaller and technology, trade, and foreign policy all interconnect, it is hard not to realize that many of our goods come from outside the USA and, expecially in the car market, seem to be much better than American brands. Although I agree with brian and ryan that China plays an unusually big role, China does have almost 1/3 of the world's population, making it not only a huge market for goods, but also a huge producer of many varieties of goods. China has also put many resources into industrailization and is trying to launch itself as a major economic and polical player. Although the numbers are suprising, I think that it is not alltogether hard to believe.

-Andreas W.

Anonymous said...

I honestly am not suprised by the outcomes he found. Many people would think that many of the cheaper things would come from the US because of the distance between us and other countries across the globe. With the new technologies in shipping and transportation, this is simply not the case. China (a country clear across the world) is one of the cheap imports for America, and Walmart has definatly figured this out seeing that a majority of their products come from there. I am, like Brian, quite suprsied that Mexico would be more of an influence than Canada- perhaps the goods that come from Canada are not usually found in the Walmart store. Overall, it is just amazing how companies like Walmart have led the revolution of using outside countries to make sure the prices inside their store as cheap as possible.

-Nick Wellmon

Anonymous said...

America, in it's search for the cheapest DVD players and fridge magnets; Is in my opinion, shooting itself in the foot. Their inflated number of imports from China serves no other purpose than to widen their profit margin. These products (of which there are numerous) could create millions of jobs for American citizens and boost their GDP significantly. Although it must be said that the USA are not the only ones guilty of this, as this practice has become commonplace throughout the developed/undeveloped world. This practice is also unlikely to change as the company's exporting these products have no incentives to produce these products themselves locally. The only way I see this problem being rectified is with government intervention. Limiting the amount of imports a company as large as wallmart can make before having to start producing locally.