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 market is anticipated to gain prominence over the next seven years. Weaving metals such as silver and gold into fabric have been a traditional and common practice. Conductive weavable fibers are used in embroidery and few interleaving techniques using fibers or ribbons are used. The manufacturing process in e-textiles requires conductive threads and fabrics. The 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 apparel, 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 in 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 body temperature, thereby providing comfort for athletes.
The global e-textiles market can be classified on the basis of the type of electronic devices. It comprises of e-textiles using classical electronic devices and e-textiles using modern electronic devices. Classical electronic devices comprise wires, batteries, integrated circuits, and LED. Modern electronic devices comprise conducting fibers, solar cells, diodes, and transistors.
Lack of capacity and ability for bulk manufacturing challenge the global market. With no assurance about the forthcoming volume orders, there exist many uncertainties in the market that subsequently have hampered the growth of the 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 a 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 a major barrier to market expansion. This has restricted the entry of newcomers in this market, subsequently restricting the market augmentation. It has equally impacted 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 in new equipment. These factors make the market less favorable for new investors.
Geographically, the European region is expected to dominate the global market. Emerging value chains accompanied by 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 the 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 the U.S. and Canada, the major focus is on the adoption of new technologies that have subsequently escalated the market growth 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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Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) solutions are anticipated to substantially contribute while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and address continuously evolving challenges. The existing situation owing to the outbreak of the epidemic will inspire pharmaceutical vendors and healthcare establishments to improve their R&D investments in AI, acting as a core technology for enabling various initiatives. The insurance industry is expected to confront the pressure associated with cost-efficiency. Usage of AI can help in reducing operating costs, and at the same time, can increase customer satisfaction during the renewal process, claims, and other services. VR/AR can assist in e-learning, for which the demand will surge owing to the closure of many schools and universities. Further, VR/AR can also prove to be a valuable solution in providing remote assistance as it can support in avoiding unnecessary travel. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.