Opportunities ahead for wool but normality a while away

Opportunities ahead for wool but normality a while away

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A Western Europe wool manager believes that the buying of wool products may not return to normal until 2023.

A Western Europe wool manager believes that the buying of wool products may not return to normal until 2023.

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A Western Europe wool manager believes that the buying of wool products may not return to normal until 2023.

Aa

While there is a lot of doom and gloom in the wool market at the moment, 2021 is shaping up to be a much better year to promote the fibre and the products it's in.

That's according to Woolmark Western Europe regional manager Damien Pommeret, who said Wimbledon 2021 would provide the perfect platform to promote wool.

"We have a great project with tennis brand Castore - Andy Murray is their main player - which will run at Wimbledon in 2021," Mr Pommeret said.

"[It will be] fantastic visibility for Woolmark, showing and putting wool in sports in a really nice and chic and white environment."

He said the Western Europe region was a major market with 200 million people.

"France is well known for the big luxury group image, Spain is a leader in fast fashion internationally and the UK is a major luxury textile market; it is also a major retail luxury market and they also have key e-commerce actors," he said.

He said during lockdown, online sales weren't crazy, but they had slowly increased.

"We could have thought they would be but not really because people were locked down and not willing to shop and didn't know if they would be able to receive it but after that yes now because it is a bit more complicated to go to a physical retail shop people go much more online," he said.

"People have money to spend, there is money there to spend they are spending it in a different way and all brands are trying to figure out how to cash in."

He said if customers had a good experience with a brand, they would continue consuming more online.

"So it is key for all brands and for [Australian Wool Innovation/Woolmark) to support the brands and partners to deliver a better service online and also maybe showing our message that is better to show what fibre it is and the benefits of [wool]," he said.

He said brands were rethinking their offering.

"In fashion you look at what you have done the season before and what the good sales [were] and you copy and paste it more or less in terms of fibre and colour," he said.

"Right now brands cannot really copy and paste what they have been doing before so they have to rethink."

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Mr Pommeret said they had just received the good news that big luxury house Hermes had confirmed their biggest order for wool for the the next full winter season in 2021.

"That is just showing also they got the message and they are really acting and changing their orders," he said.

"This will apply for most of the [luxury] brands."

He said it was showing that people were willing to spend money on fibres that were more expensive, to avoid fast fashion.

"Our message is less but better and we need to push all the benefits behind a wool product to show you are putting more money into a product that is better for the environment and also for you," he said.

He said the economy was slowly improving in Western Europe.

"The message is be patient, there will be no return to normal before 2023," he said.

"The consumer behaviour will change in a way that provides a great opportunity for natural fibres like wool.

"There will be a better future in 2023."

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