Strong Wool On The Rise, As Americans Fall In Love With Wonder Fibre
Americans are falling in love with Kiwi wool, new research shows, with at least three in four purchasers stating they would buy woollen products again.
The results are particularly positive for consumers choosing woollen insulation, with 88% of those who have installed insulation in their homes anticipating a repeat purchase should they need insulation in the future. Wool bedding, soft furnishings and flooring have also won the hearts of the US market, says Campaign for Wool NZ, who commissioned the research.
“This is excellent news for our strong wool growers, woollen product manufacturers and their US-based retail partners,” says the chair of Campaign for Wool NZ, Ryan Cosgrove. “The research tells us that New Zealand strong wool is having a real impact on discerning Americans – that its durability, natural beauty and sustainability credentials are really starting to stack up for buyers in this key market.”
The Campaign for Wool NZ is a charity mandated to promote, and advocate for, wool – with the goal of delivering value through the supply chain and to the farm gate.
Researchers surveyed over 1000 consumers sitting within the top 60% on the US household affluence index during October 2023. “We dug into the various ways wool is used in the US, how it’s perceived, how and when it is purchased, what drives that purchase and any barriers to buying wool over other products on the market,” Ryan says.
The research, which is shared with Campaign for Wool NZ’s partners operating across a number of sectors such as growing, handling, trading, manufacturing and retailing wool, highlights an improvement in the perception of wool performance since research was last conducted in 2021.
“There’s an increase in the awareness of the incredible attributes of wool – its ability to promote warmth, regulate temperature, and biodegrade, for instance. Consumers are also more appreciative of how it looks and feels than ever before, and their understanding of how wool absorbs sound has doubled – from only 20% mentioning sound absorbency as an attribute, to 40%.”
Apparel, crafting supplies and pet accessories are among the most recognised uses of wool, although in the home, building and renovation sector, those making an investment into woollen products are overwhelmingly converted to the super fibre. “Over three quarters of purchasers would choose woollen bedding or soft furnishings again, and a similar number would select woollen carpets and rugs.
The fact that conscious consumers are increasingly prioritising sheep over synthetics can only be a good thing for hardworking New Zealand farmers, “and for the environment as a whole,” says Ryan.
But there is work to do, he cautions, as consumers become increasingly price sensitive. “Affordability was the number one barrier to purchase, which is no change from the last time we undertook the research. With our support, our partners can also do better at communicating how and where to purchase New Zealand strong wool products in the US market, and how to clean and care for wool, according to the figures.”
On a positive note, our reputation for producing the best wool in the world continues to rise. “The stats show that, when compared to other wool growing nations like Australia, the UK and even the USA – home turf for these consumers – our wool ranks as being better quality, more luxurious, more sustainable and even more natural than other countries’ wool.”
To learn more about Campaign for Wool NZ, go to https://www.nzwool.co.nz/
Please note: Fresh Perspective was commissioned to conduct the research on behalf of Campaign for Wool NZ.
Respondents for the consumer insights panel were representative of the national population based on age, gender and region for the top 60% of household affluence, so as to be comparable with the benchmark study sample in 2021.
Respondents were sourced via the Dynata consumer research panel - the world’s largest first-party data platform.
Fieldwork was completed for the USA from the 6th-17th October and NZ from 9th–19th October 2023 with just over 1000 responses from consumers in each market.