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Driving demand for golf apparel in Korea

The golf wear market in South Korea has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, which has presented The Woolmark Company with a great opportunity to increase the use of Merino wool in the sport.

Sales of golf wear in South Korea have recently increased to such a large extent that they now exceed the combined value of the United States and Japanese golf wear markets. Sales reached $9.2 billion in 2022, a 45% year-on-year growth, and the market is expected to steadily grow in the foreseeable future.

Golfers tend to prefer premium clothing and show great interest in the quality of the fibre used in their apparel. As a result, brands are introducing more luxurious golf apparel products in South Korea, which presents a great opportunity for Merino wool.

Merino wool’s premium, natural benefits of breathability, thermoregulation, elasticity, softness and odour resistance make it an ideal fibre for golfing.

The increase in golf-related TV entertainment programs, plus indoor golf facilities that recreate golf courses on large screens, have played a significant role in popularising golf in South Korea. The fashion-forward Gen Z, along with the increasing number of female golfers, have also helped increase the sport’s popularity.

Even during the off-season, approximately two million Koreans enjoy golf tours abroad, ensuring a consistent demand for golf apparel through the year. Furthermore, golf is a sport that people tend to continue with once they have tried it out, which suggests the market will endure into the future.

Promoting Merino wool to golfing brands

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The Woolmark Company promoting Merino wool to golfing apparel brands in Korea.

To help ensure that Merino wool is well represented in this growing market, The Woolmark Company in Korea last year held its first sports and golf wear workshop, attended by 32 people from 11 large brands.

The workshop focused on encouraging the brands to expand their use of wool from traditional knitted jumpers to functional woven and circular knit jersey products, thereby increasing the use of Merino wool in their collections.

The workshop program featured presentations of:

  • The Woolmark Company’s Wool Appreciation Course to educate the brands about the attributes and benefits of wool
  • wool product samples (base-layers, jumpers, shirts, leggings, footwear and accessories) for the brands to handle and touch; and
  • examples of ways that brands are successfully marketing wool sports and golf wear.

After the workshop, The Woolmark Company has continued to communicate with the brands to help them source relevant wool yarns or fabrics for their 2024 collections.

Marketing with leading golf apparel brand TaylorMade

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Merino wool apparel by major golfing brand TaylorMade that was recently promoted during a marketing collaboration with The Woolmark Company in South Korea.

The Woolmark Company in Korea undertook a collaborative marketing campaign last year with leading golfing brand TaylorMade to increase awareness and sales of its Merino wool apparel in Korea in the 2023 Autumn/Winter season.

TaylorMade is an American-based global golfing brand which boasts Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy amongst its many global ambassadors. The brand is licensed in Korea to HanSung F.I which has significant expertise in the premium golf apparel market in Korea. By forming a strategic partnership with HanSung F.I, TaylorMade is expanding its apparel line and last year launched its premier Merino wool collection in Korea which comprises men’s and women’s jumpers.

The Woolmark Company’s collaborative marketing campaign with TaylorMade was launched in October and highlighted the premium, high-performance benefits of Merino wool, along with the fibre’s natural, biodegradable and renewable eco-credentials.

The campaign primarily targeted customers in their 30s-50s through a combination of digital, social media and in-store marketing.

The digital element of the campaign included a home page feature on the TaylorMade website that drove customers to a landing page that highlighted the benefits of Merino wool alongside the new collection available to purchase. Campaign videos promoted the collection online, and in-store displays featuring the products were set up in stores across Korea.

 

More information: www.taylormadeapparel.co.kr

 

This article appeared in the March 2024 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged.

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