China’s Global Shopping Festival breaks sales records and demand for knitwear continues

One of China’s major shopping sales, Singles Day on November 11, lived up to expectations by breaking the last year’s sales records. Singles Day or also known as Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, is a major Chinese shopping holiday which was first established to celebrate single people, in opposition to Valentine’s Day. Sales each year exceed Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, making it the world’s single largest shopping event.

Alibaba’s Singles Day sales reported surpassed $US74 billion, nearly double the previous record. Alibaba has said that these strong early numbers indicate that demand in China is bouncing back after the coronavirus. One of Alibaba’s major competitors, JD.com also reported an increase in sales at $US41 billion.

Eamon Timms, Fox & Lillie Rural Wool Brokerage Manager said “looking from a wool perspective, woollen sweaters appeared to sell quite well but the interest in fake fur was not there as hoped, so any expected increase in the demand for crossbred wool will not be likely based on this week’s results.

It’s becoming even more evident that the knitwear sector in China has been underpinning the whole pricing structure of the wool market which continues to try and find direction during the pandemic.”

The knitwear market principally uses shorter wooltops combed from wool between approximately 50 to 80mm greasy length which create a bulkier yarn and in further processing, a greater loft/depth to the knitwear. One of the issues is that these shorter wool types are mainly pieces, bellies and lambs and the fibre loss from these types can be significant.

Demand is now so significant for knitwear that many users are buying longer tops made of full-length fleece and cutting them back to the shorter top length for knitting with. Users are quite happy with this process as conversion costs and yield is much more predictable and colour is likely to be better.

Fox & Lillie Merino Trader, Peter Maher said “there have been significant advances for processing longer fleece wools which would usually go into traditional weaving types. The weaving market worldwide is struggling significantly but other uses for longer fleece wool, such as knitwear, is currently underpinning this market.

The downside however is the knitwear market generally doesn’t use as much volume as the weaving sector which might explain some of the volatility.”

The knitwear market is very good for wool as consumerism driven by the middle class in China is for the latest style, cut, colour for the season, demand which is often driven by online influencers. This is unlike the suit market where consumers keep their suit wear pieces for several years.

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