Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.
In 1960, cotton apparel and home fabrics accounted for about 78% of all textile products sold at retail. By 1975, that share had plummeted to an all-time low of 34%, due to the successful incursion of synthetic fibers in the marketplace, threatening the extinction of cotton as a viable commercial commodity.
Reacting to the serious erosion in cotton’s consumer market share, producers in the High Plains of Texas called for a collective national marketing and research effort. With support from regional producer organizations, the cotton growers were successful in petitioning Congress into passing the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966. The act established a funding mechanism, which ultimately led to the creation of Cotton Incorporated in 1970.
From the beginning, Cotton Incorporated adopted a “push/pull” marketing strategy. The objective was to “push” cotton textile innovations into the market through product and process development while building consumer demand, or a “pull,” through advertising and promotion.
By 1983, Cotton Incorporated succeeded in curtailing share decline, and a long steady period of increasing consumer popularity and share growth resulted. Today, cotton can be found on store shelves everywhere in most product categories, and cotton share is more than 60% of the marketplace.