The global e-textiles market is expected to possess high growth potential owing to technological proliferation and innovations in wearable technology and intelligent clothing by expert wearable computing designers. The global e-textiles market is anticipated to gain prominence over the next seven years. Weaving metals such as silver and gold into fabric has been a traditional and common practice. Conductive weavable fibers are used in embroidery and few interleaving techniques using fibers or ribbons are used. Manufacturing process in e-textiles require conductive threads and fabrics. The e-textiles market foresees high opportunities in the world of fashion. The market is expected to gain relevance and experience equal opportunities in various verticals such as healthcare, wellness and medical fitness sector. Medical electronics companies and fashion houses are expected to benefit the most from the e-textile electronics market.
The e-textiles market relies majorly on e-fibers for electrical, electro-optic, and electronic functionalities. E-textiles vary over a range of products including clothing apparels, bandages, drapes, and bed linen. E-textile fabrics can emit light, can sense heat, coolness, can change shape, compute, show changing images, communicate wirelessly, use ambient energy for creating electricity when required, diagnose problems, and at times treat clinical conditions. Manufacturers are emphasizing on using stretchable fibers, photovoltaic cells, super-capacitors for harvesting ambient energy, and using it for generating power when needed. E-textile electronic fabrics can transform energy from sunlight, body temperature, and motion energy into electrical energy. Vendors are investing highly on research and development activities to enhance the performance of fabrics. Major emphasis is being laid on developing waterproof and breathable fabrics that ensure personal comfort and protection along with moisture management techniques. Modern concepts and technologies such as phase change are incorporated into fabrics to maintain and control the body temperature, thereby providing comfort for athletes.
The global e-textiles market can be classified on the basis of type of electronic devices. It comprises of e-textiles using classical electronic devices and e-textiles using modern electronic devices. Classical electronic devices comprise of wires, batteries, integrated circuits, and LED’s. Modern electronic devices comprise conducting fibers, solar cells, diodes, and transistors.
Lack of capacity and ability for bulk manufacturing challenge the global e-textiles market. With no assurance about the forthcoming volume orders, there exist many uncertainties in the market that subsequently has hampered the growth of e-textiles market. Cynical and risk averse investors are skeptical about investing in this market. This can be attributed as a major reason for slow market growth. Moreover, there exists lack of integrated thinking and development in the market for finding out solutions. A high amount of patents in this area by the inventors of e-textiles and universities act as major barrier to the market expansion. This has restricted the entry of newcomers in this market, subsequently restricting the market augmentation. It has equally impacted the product improvement and cost reduction efforts by existing market players. Incorporating electronic equipment on fabrics requires different skills, in-depth knowledge about industry standards, and high investment on new equipment. These factors make the market less favorable for new investors.
Geographically, the European region is expected to dominate the global e-textiles market. Emerging value chains accompanied with transnational development and unique trade programs that are quite comprehensive are expected to fuel the market development in this region. The Asia Pacific region is expected to witness surges in market growth due to availability of cost-efficient manufacturing and low-cost fibers. Countries such as China and India, with their cost-efficient labor are expected to give impetus to the e-textiles market. In North American countries such as U.S. and Canada, major focus is on adoption of new technologies that has subsequently escalated the growth of e-textiles market in this region.
Key e-textiles vendors include Apple, Accenture, Adidas, Fibretronic Ltd., Fujitsu, Interactive Wear AG, Nike, Ohmatex, Philips, Reebok, Roche, Samsung, and SAP.
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