Why is wool expensive? And other facts about the price of wool

The price of wool in the UK varies year by year, but have you ever wondered how the price of wool is determined? In this blog, we’ll be answering the questions, ‘How much does wool cost?’ and ‘How much is wool sold for in the UK?’

How is the price of wool determined?

The British Wool Marketing Board is an organisation responsible for selling wool on behalf of British sheep farmers. Back in the 1960s, the price of wool was determined at auction based on the feel, look and nous of the purchaser. Today it’s still determined by auction, but purchasers can now see each batch of wool’s scientific properties, carefully measured from a core sample. Read more about the British Wool manufacturing process here.

There are over 50 grades of wool in the United Kingdom that can vary in price depending on their texture and source. A higher grade of wool that is finer and softer may be sold at a much higher price than a lower, coarser grade of wool, as wool of a high grade can be used for clothing while low-grade wool may only be useful for products such as carpets.

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Original photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why is wool expensive?

The prices for wool increases at each stage of the manufacturing process. For example, the price the farmer receives from British Wool will be much lower than that charged by a wool merchant after scouring and carding, and again lower than that charged by yarn merchants after the wool has been spun. Price is also dependant on the volume you purchase like many materials. The price of wool products such as jumpers will also include the costs of the company that made them.

Different sources of wool will have different prices, if you purchase wool that is responsibly sourced, such as 100% British Wool, the price you pay will also include a fair wage to all people in the production process which will increase the price.

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Original photo by Luiza Braun on Unsplash

The price of wool, like any raw material, also varies year by year depending on customer demand. This year, the price the UK farmer receives for their wool has fallen dramatically due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. China is normally a major importer of British wool and they have ordered significantly less than usual in 2020 due to the global economic crisis, wool prices have crashed as a result.

Even if demand was to increase significantly, the vast quantity of wool produced (and wasted) in the world means that it will always be competitive to make and buy wool products. They may be more expensive than products made with man-made fibres, but they can last longer, look better, have fantastic natural properties and are environmentally friendly.

If you’re looking for high-quality British wool products, take a look at our collection at Glencroft today.


Why is wool expensive? And other facts about the price of wool