On June 12, Cotton USA held a press conference in Düsseldorf on the occasion of the brand’s image re-launch in 2014, introduced by Robert Miller (Director Global Marketing). Furthermore, speakers like Sean Callanan (Global Operations Manager) and Edelgard Baumann (International Marketing Manager) discussed topics such as the state of the US and international cotton market as well as the results of the Cotton USA Global Lifestyle consumer study 2014.

Developments in the US and world cotton market

In 2014, the US cotton area is estimated to grow. It is expected to increase from 4,212 thousand hectares (in 2013) to 4,492 thousand hectares.
Simultaneously, also the US cotton production is expected to rise up to ca. 3.2 million tons in 2014 from ca. 2.8 million tons in 2013. The worldwide cotton production in 2014 is expected to reach around 25 million tons.

In 2013, more synthetic fibers than cotton were used in mills worldwide: 45 million tons polyester vs. 23 million tons cotton. In 2014, the US domestic fiber consumption is expected to be made up of around 4 million tons cotton and 6 million tons other fibers.

Global Lifestyle Monitor 2014

The Cotton USA consumer study, conducted with 10,000 consumers worldwide from December 2013 until February 2014, showed that the shopping favorite in Germany are clothing items, leading with 33% (followed by groceries and electronics). Preferred shopping places are chain stores (69%) and online shops (61%). 52% of the consumers chose department stores, with decreasing frequency. A large number of the under 35-years-old consumers (96%) and also over 35 years old consumers (92%) buy clothes online, and use homepages of brands or retailers as first orientation.

Quality, price, color and the processing of a garment are the main purchasing criteria for German consumers; each was named by 80% or more of the respondents. There are certain properties that would make consumers pay more for a garment, for instance waterproofness (49% would pay more), easy to care (35%), or stretch (23%).

Consumers like natural materials for their clothing. Pure cotton has the most positive influence on the purchasing decision: 54% of the consumers are willing to pay more for a garment when the care label says 100% cotton. 49% are willing to pay more for a “Fair Trade” labelled garment, 45% for a “Made in the USA” product.

The denim sector shows a slight loss of importance for German consumers: Whilst in 2008 consumers owned an average of nine new pairs of denim, for 2014, they are expected to own only 6 pairs on average. In Germany however, people wear denim to work with a more daily frequency (64%), compared to other European countries like Italy (49%) and UK (18%).

Concerning the production, responsibility is in focus: German consumers want to be sure that clothing and other products are produced without child labor (67%) and are free of preservatives or bleaching substances (56%). Fibers like wool, cotton and silk are estimated to be safer for the environment than synthetic fibers. 73% of the German consumers prefer cotton or cotton blends for the clothing that they wear the most.