Positive signs for wool in China, Italy, Japan and India

Sheep Central, February 27, 2023

AWI CEO John Roberts.

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation has outlined why it believes 2023 will be a better year for wool.

The grower levy-funded body’s chief executive officer John Roberts said the company’s network of offices are reporting positive signs for wool sales across the year.

These signs included the COVID recovery of China, marketing success in Japan and Italy and renewed demand from India.

“There is a real sense that 2023 will be a better year than 2022,” Mr Roberts said.

“Our team in China has told us that a high degree of normalcy has returned after the two-month long Omicron COVID strain outbreak.”

He said most of the Chinese textile mills have been operating at full capacity since early January.

“The country’s gross domestic production is set to bounce back and accordingly the level of optimism remains high among Chinese consumers – more than half of surveyed respondents believe their household income will increase over the next five years.

“With around 40 percent of Australian greasy wool consumed by domestic consumers in China – that optimism should flow through to more sales,” Mr Roberts said.

“In Italy,  our partnership with Prada Luna Rossa for the next America’s Cup has led to more than fifteen other brands to approach us to use wool in more sporting and outdoor wear.

“In Japan, the most recent winter campaign yielded a significant 12.9pc uplift in sales of the partner’s wool category, totaling $26 million in sales,” Mr Roberts said.

He said wool’s eco-credentials, particularly it’s biodegradability, have resonated with Japanese consumers.

“There has been renewed buying interest this year for Australian wool out of India as key mills plan expansion.

“The recent free trade agreement between Australia and India is another spur for activity.”

Mr Roberts said the recent launch of the Circle Sportswear supernatural runner with 65 percent Australian Merino wool and completely biodegradable sole has prompted other brands to explore having AWI’s marketing arm The Woolmark Company logo on their items.

“Last year’s “Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel” campaign continues to resonate with consumers wanting a top-quality natural fibre instead of synthetics.

“The 3-D billboards in Times Square, New York and Piccadilly Circus, London showcased the difference between wool and synthetics in dramatic fashion,” he said.

Taken together these are positive signs but as the last few years have shown us there are no guarantees of success.”

Group managing director of the Italian luxury fashion brand Prada, Lorenzo Bertelli, praised his brand’s partnership with The Woolmark Company.

“The performance of wool compared to synthetic materials is on the highest level.

“Wool is an active fibre changing the wearer’s body temperature and the feel is much more pleasant and so I believe being able to use it for products which are very technical it was a challenging goal but we are very satisfied with what we have been able to achieve,” he said.

Source – AWI.


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