Thursday, May 19, 2022

New research shows opportunity for NZ wool in US

New research has found that Americans have different ideas about wool compared to New Zealanders – one that offers growers a huge opportunity.

While New Zealand consumers are generally well versed on wool and its benefits, O’Sullivan said the CFWNZ was pleased to have identified a number of gaps in consumer understanding in the US. 

New research has found that Americans have different ideas about wool compared to New Zealanders – one that offers growers a huge opportunity.

The research commissioned by the Campaign for Wool NZ (CFWNZ) found a large education gap in how US consumers think about wool, CFWNZ chairman Tom O’Sullivan said.

“For example, 53% think of cashmere when they hear the word wool. Although they are aware of wool, it sits quite a bit lower down in their consciousness when compared to New Zealand consumers.”

The research by Fresh Perspective Insight canvassed 3000 consumers across three markets – New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States in November last year.

It also detected a second issue. 

“It showed Americans harbour misconceptions that wool is rough, itchy and hard to care for, whereas New Zealanders have much higher awareness of the positive attributes of wool like biodegradability, fire resistance and insulating properties,” he said.

While New Zealand consumers are generally well versed on wool and its benefits, O’Sullivan said the CFWNZ was pleased to have identified a number of gaps in consumer understanding in the US. 

Most of those surveyed view wool as a super fibre when it comes to resilience and sustainability.

“One thing we saw in the research is that those in the US see wool as ‘owning’ the superior quality and durability space,” he said.

The research also found that 66% of respondents positioned wool as long lasting when compared with petroleum-based synthetics and plant fibres.

“The tide is turning in our war on synthetics. We can leverage consumers’ appetite for a cleaner, greener shift by ensuring we’re telling the right stories about New Zealand wool, increasing demand for our growers. With strong quality measures, this data will also support our commercial partners to justify higher prices in the US.”

It is well known that the United States has been a difficult market to crack, but O’Sullivan said the team at CFWNZ is confident. 

“When it comes to the US, it’s all about target and focus. Although we now have a clearer picture of the US wool consumer, we need to narrow our geographic focus to ensure the messaging is strong and loud

 “We’ve identified Texas, California and the East Coast as the key areas for New Zealand wool. However, we are looking to refine this further into sub-states and even down to city level where we can.”

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