Md. Mostafa Kamal
The United States exports more than three times more cotton than its next closest competitor and achieved a 40% share of cotton fiber exports in the latest marketing year. To better understand how the U.S. industry maintains their high share of exports, it is important to understand the factors driving it from the customer perspective. To provide further insight into the perspective of U.S. cotton customers, a research study of mill and manufacturer representatives from around the world was conducted. Findings suggest that U.S. cotton’s quality reputation is superior to cotton from other regions of the world. Textile Focus research team is presenting the key factor of the research for its readers.
In 2017, a third-party research firm conducted an assessment of the cotton industry and Cotton Council International’s (CCI) role in the industry by reaching out to 228 mill and manufacturer representatives to gain insight into their purchase decisions as well as perceptions toward U.S. cotton and the COTTON USA brand. Representatives spanned 18 countries including the six largest cotton purchasing regions in the world;Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, China, Latin America, and Central Europe.
Importance of Purchase Factors:
Respondents were first asked to rate the most important factors in their cotton purchase decisions. Across regions the top five factors in the cotton purchasing decision were quality, price, overall satisfaction with the product,contamination, and living up to their contract.Respondents were then asked to rate their associations with cotton from various parts of the world. While U.S.cotton is not the lowest cost, U.S. cotton was most highly associated with all other top factors in the decision to purchase cotton.
Over 91% of respondents would recommend U.S. Cotton:
Nearly 90% of respondents perceived U.S. cotton as high quality, consistent, and low contamination and three quarters believed U.S. cotton provides good value despite the higher price point. U.S. cotton was consistently rated more positively than cotton from other parts of the world across all significant purchase factors.
Given the positive associations with U.S. cotton it shouldnot be surprising that U.S. cotton was overwhelminglythe preferred cotton for all respondents, as over 50% ofrespondents preferred U.S. cotton, more than four timeshigher than cotton from any other country.Not only is it strongly preferred by mills andmanufacturers around the world but purchase behaviorbacks up the superiority of U.S. cotton. Over one-thirdof the cotton reportedly purchased in the past year wasfrom the U.S., nearly three times higher than cotton fromany other country.
In addition, respondents were very satisfied with theirU.S. cotton purchases as over 90% indicated that theywould recommend U.S. cotton to their customers.
Cotton USA Brand:
Respondents were also asked about their awareness andperceptions of the COTTON USA brand. Since 1989 CottonCouncil International (CCI) has licensed products such asapparel and home textiles with the COTTON USA trademarkand in that time more than 51,000 product lines and 3.8 billionproducts have used this trademark.In light of this long track record, 96% of mill and manufacturerrepresentatives were aware of the COTTON USA brand. Moreimportantly, 77% indicated that the COTTON USA trademarkadds value to their business.
Overall, findings of this research study point to thefact that U.S. cotton is the cotton preferred by milland manufacturers around the world. Despite thehigher price point, mills and manufacturers purchasemore U.S. cotton than cotton from any other countrybecause of the high quality.The high quality of U.S. cotton product is projectedin the COTTON USA trademark, which adds value tocotton products by projecting animage of quality,comfort, and trust.