Japan is once again establishing itself as one of the attractive markets for Australian wool. After a series of economic setbacks, the consumption of fashion and luxury goods is steady, and Japan still represents one of the top three markets for our product. There is also strong support for the Woolmark brand and Australia as a source of wool both at the trade level and in the minds of Japanese consumers. Potential luxury market size is 80 million consumers.

Market size

  • Japan’s 128 million people are acknowledged for their importance in luxury goods consumption, and their understanding of quality.
  • Wool continues to be an attractive proposition based on population, climate and affluence. Increasingly, European brands are influencing domestic trends even in the more conservative markets (viz. the profile of Paul Smith in menswear).


  • In-store purchase remains robust in comparison with online purchase, even though the sales through online is rapidly growing. The total market size for e-commerce in 2011 is reported JPY8.5 trillion (USD106.25 billion), which is an increase of 8.5%. In terms of clothing and accessories, the increment is reported to be even higher at 28.6%.
  • Japanese consumers are affluence and quality consciousness. Japanese demography is rapidly shifting to seniors who are said to have a huge in-house deposit of JPY27.7 trillion (USD346 billion). These affluent consumers are generally fond of the attributes like prestige, heritage and authenticity that wool intrinsically has.
  • Key consumer values driving growth potential in this market are:

    • Authenticity
    • Provenance
    • Eco-natural

Opportunity for wool

  • Continued and consistent collaboration with major retail outlets in Japan will yield results more readily than the smaller scale piecemeal approach of the past. Strong, themed activities such as Campaign for Wool generate retail promotional opportunities for wool and major stores adopt a more cooperative approach than is the case in markets such as the USA.
  • Ready adoption of innovation continues to be an attractive area for AWI to participate, as does the likely positive response at consumer level of products such as Cool Wool.