Where Will the Smart and Interactive Textiles Market Stand in 2020?

From their primary function of shielding man from cold, heat, and rain, textiles have now evolved to perform more sophisticated functions. Technology has inextricably been fused with fabrics to open exciting possibilities. This futuristic nature of smart and interactive textiles has made them attractive to both investors and end-users. 

Smart and interactive textiles market is expected to constitute a market worth US$3.82 billion by 2020, Transparency Market Research has said. The relatively new market is expected to develop rapidly and register a CAGR of 14.0% between 2014 and 2020, the business intelligence firm has said. Smart and interactive textiles are unique in that they carry the ability to sense, store power, communicate with external devices, and more.

Even as the smart textiles market is perched on the brink of dramatic growth, here is what stakeholders can expect the future to bring:
  • The transportation industry is expected to be the growth engine for the global smart and interactive textiles market. Smart and technical textiles, have applications in passenger vehicles, racing cars, and aircraft. With integrated communications and sophisticated technology being used in passenger vehicles, smart textiles will make their presence felt in the transportation sector. Smart seat belts that measure the heartbeat, seat heating, and multi-functional steering wheels are all pushing the growth of the smart and interactive textiles market. According to TMR, the transportation industry accounted for 38% of the smart and interactive textiles market in 2013.
  • Developed nations currently generate the majority of the demand for interactive textiles and smart textiles. While the demand for smart textiles in Europe is centered on sports and fitness clothing and other varieties of apparel, in North America, smart textiles are extensively being used in military and transportation applications. However, from the regional standpoint, the growth of the Asia Pacific region will be worth watching out for. With countries such as Japan, China, and India making headway in new applications entailing the use of smart textiles, the Asia Pacific smart and interactive textiles market is projected to have a CAGR of 20% between 2014 and 2020.
  • Consumer applications will create several new opportunities in the near future. The use of smart and interactive textiles will be seen in more and more consumer products. Fusing fashion with functionality is recommended as a means to offer more value to consumers. Fashion labels are expected to generate greater demand for smart and interactive textiles, opening a window of opportunity for companies in this market. However, the industry will have to look into issues related to washing and care of smart and interactive textiles, as many of them are embedded with electronic components. Besides this, the other fine balancing act would be to ensure that smart fabrics are not excessively heavy or uncomfortable for the wearer.
While consistent research and development activities will help companies address the aforementioned drawbacks, maintaining attractive prices is a challenge that needs special attention.


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