Strong recovery in the imports of wool coats for the Autumn/Winter 2006/07 season was the main driver for the increase of wool apparel imports in Japan for 2006.
The affect of an abnormally cold winter in the previous Autumn/Winter season, when a virtual complete run-down of all stocks of coats and knitwear at retail occurred has been noted in previous articles.
Looking at imports of coats of fibres other than wool during 2006, women's synthetic coats increased similarly year-on-year while cotton also increased, however, less strongly. As a result, the largest gain in fibre share was enjoyed by synthetics, whose volume share in total women's coat imports lifted in both 2005 and 2006.
Cotton share in total imports of women's coats showed a contrasting fall in 2006, declining for the second straight year since a peak recorded in 2004. Wool share remained static in 2006, breaking a declining trend seen since 2002.
The fibre share switching from cotton to synthetics, with wool left relatively unaffected, is common to other women's items and knitwear imported to Japan. At this stage the expansion of cotton in the winter season seems to have peaked in 2004, with its threat to wool fibre share in winter easing. It is worth noting that the gap has been filled mainly by man-made fibre garments so far.
Australian Wool Innovation Limited