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  • Retail cotton consumption

    Chapter 1 - The world cotton market - Overview 

    In 2003, developed countries as a group accounted for 44% of retail-level cotton consumption worldwide, and developing countries accounted for 52%. At the retail level, the United States is the largest consuming country, accounting for 21% of total cotton use in 2005. United States per capita cotton consumption was 17 kilograms in 2005, compared with a world average of only 3.8 kilograms. High consumer incomes, a history of cotton consumption, consumer preferences in favour of cotton bolstered by industry advertising, and fashion trends that favour cotton explain the high level of per capita cotton use in the United States.

    Retail consumption of cotton in Latin America accounted for 9% of world cotton use in 2000; per capita consumption was 3.2 kilograms per year. Consumers in Brazil and Mexico account for two-thirds of Latin American retail-level cotton use.

    Retail consumption in the EU-15 accounts for 16% of world cotton use, and per capita cotton consumption in Europe was about 7 kilograms in 2000. The lower level of per capita consumption of cotton in Europe compared with the United States reflects lower average income levels, fewer consumer-oriented retail structures, and differences in tastes and preferences between United States and European consumers.

    Retail consumption in the Russian Federation and other countries of the former Soviet Union accounted for 2% of world cotton use in 2000; per capita cotton use was below the world average at just 2.7 kilograms.

    Retail consumption in the Middle East, including Turkey, accounted for 6% of world use in 2000; per capita consumption was equal to the world average at 3.6 kilograms.

    Africa, including South Africa and Egypt, accounts for only 2% of world cotton use at the retail level; per capita consumption of cotton in Africa is less than 1 kilogram per year.

    Retail consumption in Japan equalled 6% of world cotton use in 2000. Per capita consumption in Japan was 9 kilograms, 2 kilograms higher than the EU average, but lower than in the United States. Consumption in the rest of East Asia (including China) and South Asia accounted for 31% of world cotton use at the retail level in 2000, but per capita consumption averaged just 1.8 kilograms because of low incomes and government policies that favour the use of polyester to conserve land devoted to cotton. One of the great challenges for the cotton industry is to raise per capita consumption in the countries with the largest populations, including China, where cotton use per capita was just 1.9 kilograms in 2000, India, with per capita cotton use of 1.7 kilograms, and Indonesia, with per capita use of 1.4 kilograms. It is hoped that rising incomes in India, Indonesia and China will lead to increases in per capita cotton consumption during the current decade.