A recent study commissioned by Campaign for Wool NZ revealed a significant increase in American awareness and purchase behaviour regarding wool's positive attributes.
Ryan Cosgrove, Chair of the Campaign for Wool NZ, joins REX host Dom George to discuss the results of a recent study on American households' attitudes towards New Zealand wool and its rising status in the luxury market.
"We've replicated a study that we did in 2021, so a full two years later surveying affluent American households on their wool awareness and their wool purchasing behaviours, and what we've seen is, across the board, big jumps in awareness of all the positive attributes of Wool," Cosgrove explains.
Despite the enthusiasm, the premium price point of wool remains a deterrent for some consumers. Cosgrove stresses the importance of not compromising the product's integrity to reduce costs but instead, focusing on efficiency and communicating wool's value proposition to justify its higher price.
"We don't want to be looking at ways to bring price down except for efficiency. We're certainly not looking to commodify our product."
One surprising revelation is wool's sound-dampening qualities, with awareness doubling from 20% to 40% in the US. This attribute positions wool above synthetic alternatives for acoustic applications in homes and commercial settings.
Cosgrove highlights that wool's natural fire retardancy is now being recognised, broadening its appeal in the construction sector. George and Cosgrove also touch upon wool's durability, a double-edged sword for repeat business since wool products last for decades. Cosgrove suggests leveraging satisfied customers as grassroots marketers to promote wool's benefits within their communities.
Towards the end of the conversation, they discuss the global perception of New Zealand wool, which, according to the study, is ranked higher in quality and sustainability than wool from other countries like Australia, the UK, and even the US.
"American consumers believe that Kiwis do it better, both in terms of quality and sustainability," Cosgrove proudly states.
The episode concludes with optimism about the future of wool, the impact of the Campaign for Wool's global efforts, and the royal support from King Charles, which Ryan acknowledges is an advantage in raising the profile of wool worldwide.
Listen to the full chat between Ryan Cosgrove and Dominic George above.