- There is a considerable variation of GDP within the region, however the three Baltic countries are now rebounding after the financial difficulties already present before the 2008 financial crises period. GDP statistics for the planning period 2013–2016 shows a forecast of 3.0 to 3.5% growth per annum for the region, with individual country GDP growth ranging from 1.2 to 6.0%. The variation within the area shows that Norway and Sweden will continue to be the largest economies, but Latvia and Lutuania will experience the fastest growth.
- The trade in Nordic can be split into different geographical areas: the affluent markets of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland show similar market trends to the other global affluent markets. However local market opportunities focus on expanding the share of wool in the prominent outdoor and sports market.
- In the Baltic countries there are clusters of textile industries with potential to develop further into wool production.
- In Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland there are a large number of skilful retail groups (H&M) and brands (GANT, HellyHansen, Sand and Devold) that show diligence and success in product development, production and fibre decisions.
- The area has the biggest concentration globally of internationally operating sports/outdoor brands featuring Merino.
- Production sources – the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have viable textile production industries. Skilled and efficient production expertise are the hallmarks here. Wool and Merino production is important for both fashion and sports customers.
- Efficient retailing business has been around for decades. The trend for online shopping is growing very fast in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. These countries are on top of the list of European countries for the percentage of households with broadband connection. The technical platform is there and consumers have taken online shopping up – with 2012 alone showing an increase of 30–40% in Sweden.
- Apparel segments where online shopping has developed the most are baby and children as well as women’s fashion.
- This year has seen a strong increase in online shopping in the sports segment. Latest statistics show 27% growth in turnover compared to 1.7% for bricks and mortar stores. This trend is forecast to continue.
- Key consumer values in this market are:
- Close to nature are the key words when looking at consumer preferences. Outdoor activities all the year round are an essential part of the life from early Kindergarten days.
- Outdoor and sport activities are segments where Nordic consumers are pioneers. They know how to dress for different activities from childhood.
- When it comes to fashion it is design in combination with value for money that will be the guideline for the consumer, still with a focus on fashion.
- The cluster of designer brands in the Nordic countries are supported by the affluent, trendy consumer group that are more than willing to look for quality and fashion trend.
Opportunity for Wool
Consumer-driven activity will be the key to increasing the demand for Merino wool. Consumers are well educated and know how to select good quality and performance in sportswear as well as in fashion and babywear.