The global smart fabrics market witnessed 4.1 million units shipments in 2019, and it is expected to reach a shipment value of 8.51 million units by 2025, registering a CAGR of 14.1% over the forecast period (2020 – 2025). Smart textiles are fabrics that are manufactured and designed to integrate technologies that offer the user with increased functionality. R&D toward wearable textile-based personal systems, such as health monitoring, protection and safety, and healthy lifestyles, gained major interest over the last few years. In April 2020, MIT developed smart clothing that follows the most important indicators of human health, i.e., heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. This was achieved through sewing into the fabric of sensitive sensors that fit the skin.?
- The growth in the wearable electronics industry?? is driving the market. The growing demand for smart wearables across various end-user industries is the major factor driving the growth of the smart fabric market. A significant amount of effort is witnessed in order to expand what fabric wearables can do with respect to payments. Mastercard developed a partnership with Timex to integrate contactless payments into their watches, while a U.K.-based CashCuff did the same with the cufflinks. When such distinguished applications become mainstream, which it has, the market is very likely to shift to accommodate similar trends on smart fabrics. ? - Miniaturization of electronics? and developments across flexible electronics?? is driving the market. The efficiency of smart fabrics is enhancing with the advancement in miniaturized electronic items, such as sensors, actuators (for active smart textiles), and controlling units (for advance smart textiles).? The significant expertise in multifunctional plastics manufacturing, nanoscale manufacturing, and printed electronics has been seen. For instance, UMass Lowell develops flexible electronics and smart textiles. It’s some of the on-going research projects are developing high-frequency printed conformal antennas, carbon-based transistors, and photonic devices, research on wearable antennas for the military. - Further, the developments on wearable triboelectric nanogenerators in shapes of fiber, yarn, and textile promise a leapfrog development in the market studied.? These nanogenerators, when effectively integrated with devices such as supercapacitor, lithium battery, and solar cell, their feasibility for realizing self-charging wearable systems have been proven to attract the attention of smart wearables. ? - Further, with the outbreak of the COVID-19, the market may not experience substantial growth. This is because the manufacturing of smart fabric requires a high degree of automation and advancements in textile processing techniques such as electronic controlling system, computer-aided design, automated inspection, etc. The industry does not come under the essential services segment as it is considered in the “apparel and lifestyle goods” category, as a result of which factories are currently not under operations. - In May 2020, the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India led the government to consider imposing a temporary additional COVID import duty on the import of garments for a period of 12 months. This is further expected to hamper the fashion and entertainment-based smart fabric development and shipment, as the price increase will have some impact on demand for these goods.?
Key Market Trends Fashion and Entertainment Industry to Witness Significant Growth
- The fashion and entertainment industry is using smart fabrics to incorporate unique aesthetics into clothing. Appearance features, such as color, size, or shape of garments, can be altered using technology woven into fabrics. Smart fabrics in clothes enable the user with the capability to interact with their surroundings and to communicate data via embedded sensors or conductive yarn through the clothes they wear with the wearable devices.? - In the fashion industry, the market studied is driven by innovations of the designers coming up with new and aesthetically pleasing outfits, integrated with a useful technical architecture capable of relaying information. Many brands, ranging from Uniqlo to Lululemon, are using smart fabrics to set their collections ahead of the pack. - Many prominent brands such as Under Armour, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, among others, along with smaller companies such as Sensora, Loomia, Hexoskin, CuteCircuit, others are offering their smart clothing that are using smart fabrics to set their collections ahead of the others. For instance, CuteCircuit, are utilizing smart fabrics for their haute couture collections and specialty projects. CuteCircuit’s ’Hug Shirt’ allows the user to send electronic hugs through sensors within the garment. - The French startup Spinali Design makes high-end beachwear with integrated ultraviolet light sensors that tell the wearer when it’s time to apply sunscreen and distance trackers that tells the parents when the kids have wandered too close to the surf. - Further, for the past few years, Google was working with Levi Straus on a future smart jean jacket under Project Jacquard, which would eventually lead to a jean jacket with smart fabric sleeves with built-in touch controls. In November 2019, the project was commercialized on new Jean jackets from Levis. The jacket costs USD 198 to USD 248. - Furthermore, many technology giants such as Microsoft and Apple are filing their patents for their technology integration with smart fabric. For instance, in October 2019, Apple filed a patent for integrating health monitoring technology into clothing.? Similarly, in November 2019, Microsoft filed a patent for smart fabric technology named as Electronically Functional Yarn that will be embedded into yarns for electrical functionality. This technology can be used in the fashion and entertainment segment, as reported by the company.
North America to Account for a Significant Market Share
- North America is anticipated to substantiate a prominent share in the smart fabrics market, with the United States region accounting for the major share. Connected wearable products are gaining significant trends and have been around in various forms, such as fitness bands, smartwatches, smart glasses, and among others. - According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), in 2018, around 46.1 million wearable devices were expected to be shipped in the United States. This increasing adoption of wearable electronics devices is anticipated to open new avenues for the smart fabrics market as they offer significant enhancements to human comfort, health, and well-being. - Moreover, the Future Force Warrior research program of the US military is working on a smart battle suit to be introduced by 2020, including GPS, network communications, and sensors, to monitor physiological indicators, which included heart rate, blood pressure, and hydration. ?? - Furthermore, the Canadian military has made use of full-fabric keyboards in its IAV Stryker units, developed to replace the bulky, traditional hardware. These are designed to be lighter, more comfortable to transport, and have fewer components to break.? - Moreover, the level of research for developing smart fabrics have taken a step ahead in the region. The region has been witnessing research and developments to create adaptive thermal clothing could which control the microclimate around each individual. For instance, Kestrel Materials, an OtherLab spin-out company, commercializes thermally adaptive garment technology based on textile bimorph structure with strategically mismatched coefficients of thermal expansion
Competitive Landscape The Smart Fabrics Market is fragmented because multiple vendors have been witnessed raising funding in 2019 and early 2020 to be channelized onto productions. For instance, Xenoma raised funds through additional investment by AOKI and TOYOSHIMA. These instances cater to market rivalry. Further, when considering the integrator level stakeholders, the presence of forward integration has been witnessed. With companies like Hexoskin and Sensoria, the competition has risen with respect to end consumer manufacturability.? Recent developments in the market are - - March 2020 - Liquid X partnered with Powercast to help manufacturers implement wearable sensors directly into garments. The offering further serves as a potential to athletics and monitor patients. - September 2019 - Shenzhen-based Smart Fabric Textile Technology co., Ltd, an industrial internet startup, closed its Series C round, which is led by Tencent and Sequoia by bagging USD 100 million. Smart Fabric aims to help transform both the manufacturing and trading of China’s textile industry.
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