Shortage and price increases for downs
Since three years, there is to witness a high demand for down (goose and duck feathers) and thus a continuing increase of prices, at the same time, there is a shortage of the raw material to be considered
Already in 2012 the prices increased dramatically and in the ongoing year this trend is persistent. The driving force behind this is the high and stronger demand by manufacturers of Outdoor and down clothing. As we all know these two segments, especially in Asia, are growing because there are more and more people affording products such as down-jackets. However such jackets need only a smaller amount of downs, and it seems that apparel manufacturers are prepared to pay a high incentive to get for the raw material to meet higher demand. The major users of this raw material are the manufacturers of down beddings and due to the behaviour in the clothing sector these are forced to pay also a much higher price and they need to charge higher prices to the consumer for their final product. In addition, the total worldwide volume of down is decreasing.
The higher demand is combined with an offering shortage. Since the side production of mead follows the trends of the food industry and eating habits of the consumer the described trend is accentuated. In the last few years the consumption of poultry has diminished in Asian countries and this has halved the breeding of goose and ducks. On the other hand, breeders suffer from markedly increased prices for feeding stuffs and also the energy costs increased, so that the breeding is not profitable anymore. All these factors lead also to an increase of down bedding.
Today’s consumers do want to sleep and sit on down products not only when they are travelling but also at home, however at a higher price in the future. The filling of a downer duvet is becoming dear, especially when filled with goose down and therefore manufacturers are forced to move more frequently to duck down in order that their products remain competitive and this might be a new trend and become a standard. However it is foreseeable that all qualities of down will see increasing price levels due to the persisting high worldwide demand for jackets, sleeping bags and duvets. However the consumer has to be aware by detailed declaration what he is buying, and to differentiate the product, he will be in need to consult a specialist to be informed on the various qualities and thus price levels, for instance, in Switzerland the members of the Association of Swiss Bedding Manufacturers (VSB). These issue a quality seal “Swiss Guaranty VSB” attesting that only natural clean down and feathers of goose and ducks are applied, and they derive solely from dead animals (not plucked alive), washed with bio-degradable detergents and these are dried at minimal 100°C (germ free) are used. Manufacturers are guaranteeing all aspects indicated in the product information. Besides of the ecologic aspects this guarantee includes also animal protection by refusing the application of cruel plucked alive feathers!