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UL Product Mindset Study and High-Tech Industry Report Reveals Manufacturers' Short and Longer Term Priorities

February 7, 2012

Product Reliability, Safety and Innovation Rise to the Surface as the "Product Mindset" Explores Impact of Consumer and Manufacturer Perceptions of the High-Tech Industry

NORTHBROOK, IL, Feb. 7, 2012 - - A new global study from UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a world leader in advancing safety, reveals that a majority of high-tech manufacturers believe that while product reliability is the key to success now, staying ahead of innovation will be crucial to future success.  The new study, "Navigating the Product Mindset," explores the connections and contradictions between perceptions of consumers and manufacturers on issues of safety, innovation, performance and sustainability. Global perceptions were collected from consumers and manufacturers in China, India, Germany, and the U.S. across industries in high-tech, food, building materials, and household chemicals. In addition to the study, UL has created industry-specific reports for High Tech, Household Chemicals, Food and Building Materials.

"As a facilitator of global trade in the high-tech arena, UL has a good read on industry challenges and decision drivers," said Tetsushi Miyazaki, general manager for global high-tech industry, UL.  "Through studies such as the ‘Product Mindset' we are able to recognize technology manufacturing trends, such as the growing need to strike a unique balance between product safety and dynamic innovation.  By understanding the constraints and demands of the industry and the expectation of the end consumers, UL is able to best educate and deliver services to meet the needs of its customers and in turn, the end consumer and the industry at large, all of whom rely on the trusted UL Mark."

Other key insights from the study include:

  • Although regional differences can be of influence, the largest supply chain challenges for manufacturers include timely delivery and rising costs.
  • High-tech manufacturers are most satisfied with their company's consistent delivery of reliable, safe products.
  • Manufacturers feel it is their responsibility - not government agencies, retailers or consumer agencies - to communicate key product safety information to consumers.
  • High-tech manufacturers agree that consumers are becoming more empowered and consumer claims are the most valuable endorsement.
  • Consumers agree that high-tech products have improved in terms of safety in the past few years, however, also feel that higher quality products come from more developed markets than emerging ones. 

Specific findings include:  

  • Only 4 percent of high-tech manufacturers feel that their company is behind the curve regarding product safety.
  • 81 percent of high-tech manufacturers believe that product safety is becoming more important.
  • More than 60 percent of high-tech manufacturers agree that there is a direct relationship between product quality and country of origin.
  • 72 percent of consumers state they are always or usually aware of the country of origin for high-tech products.
  • Approximately 61 percent of manufacturers consider environmental products profitable or somewhat profitable. Chinese manufacturers are the most optimistic, while U.S. manufacturers demonstrate the largest concern in the area of environmental product profitability.


Global quantitative research was conducted by an independent research firm during the Spring 2011. 1,235 consumers and 1,195 manufacturers in China, Germany, India and the United States were interviewed across an array of topics related to safety, performance, innovation and sustainability.  Manufacturers were selected from the high-tech, food, household chemicals and building materials sectors and were interviewed by phone.  Consumers were interviewed through an online survey.