A new survey by the Irish Times finds that wool sales have fallen significantly in the past few years as the industry has been plagued by a high price and limited availability.
The poll, conducted between January and April this year, found that the number of people who were buying wool in Ireland had dropped from 3,721 in 2013 to 1,923 in 2014.
It found that only 37 per cent of respondents were purchasing wool for a personal use, compared to 61 per cent in 2013.
It also found that wool consumption in Ireland has dropped from a high of 13.3m tonnes in 2013, to 7.4m tonnes today.
This is a drop of nearly one third in just a few years, and is due to a combination of factors including a global economic slowdown, rising prices and the lack of availability of high quality wool, the poll found.
The findings follow a similar survey conducted by the International Wool Council (IWC) last year which found that Woolworths’ sales of wool fell by 13 per cent between 2013 and 2014, and that the UK’s Woolworth chain saw sales fall by 15 per cent over the same period.
It comes amid a renewed focus on the industry, with Woolworth’s new marketing campaign and a number of international brands such as the brand of which IWC is a part targeting the Irish market.
It is understood that the Woolworth campaign was one of the first major UK brands to come out with its own Woolworth Woolies campaign in 2018.
However, a spokesperson for the IWC told The Irish Press that the company has been working closely with Woolies in the lead up to the global wool boycott to promote the quality of its wool.
“As part of this, we have been working with Woolys marketing team to make sure that we have a clear message across all our advertising,” they said.
“We are also actively communicating with Woolie to help with its wool marketing strategy, which we believe is key to our wool market.”
Woolies has made great strides to improve its quality and offer more affordable wool and we will continue to work closely with them to ensure we are delivering the wool consumers they need in a timely manner.
“The IWC spokesperson said that Woolies continued to work with its European market partners to support its wool-making efforts and that it is working with other global brands to continue to promote quality wool in its own country.
However the spokesperson added that the overall Woolworth brand is still an important part of the industry in Ireland, with its brand on the Woolies website, as well as its flagship Woolies store in the city of Dublin.