Smart textiles are textiles fitted with electronic components such as sensors, control units, actuators, and others, connected with each other. The usability of smart textiles lies in several applications such as health monitoring, health management, communication, and actuation and response. Smart textiles are used in wearables such as gloves, sportswear, coats, etc., which are further connected to trackers, smartphones, music players, etc.
The smart textile market will rise at a whopping 30.8% CAGR between 2015 and 2023, resulting in the market reaching a valuation of US$7.7 bn by 2023, increasing from US$700 mn in 2014.
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Technological Advancements, Miniaturization of Electronic Components Favors Smart Textile Market
The smart textile market is primarily driven due to the increasing usage of nanotechnology in these materials. Material produced using nanotechnology contain special functionalities such as UV protection, anti-bacterial protection, water and stain resistance, and many more. Nanotechnology used in smart textiles incorporates nanoelectronics, nano biotechnology, and nanomaterials; a combination of nanotechnology techniques is used for the engineering of fabrics at the molecular scale. This helps in modifying the material to exhibit much more desirable properties than the original material.
From the consumer side, the rising demand for wearable technology is also supporting the smart textile market. This trend has benefitted the market massively at a global level. With miniaturization of electronic components, the integration of these components in smart textiles is a reality, which makes them a part of the wearables sector. In recent years, an increasing number of research and development undertakings have been funded by players in the smart textile market, aiding the growth of this market. This will result in the development of innovative products for smart textiles.
Nevertheless, the high production cost of smart textiles is deterrent to the market’s growth. This, along with the high cost of electronic devices and components, further elevates the cost of these textiles. As such, smart textiles are still a rarity due to their excessive cost. Other than this, disconnect between the smart textile industry and electronic industry is posing a hindrance to the growth of this market.
Military and Defense Dominates Demand for Smart Textiles
By function, energy harvesting, thermoelectricity, sensing, luminescence, and others are the segments of this market. In 2014, the sensing segment held a whopping 26.1% share in the global market.
On the basis of application, healthcare, entertainment, sports and fitness, military and defense, automotive, and others (includes architecture and fashion) are the segments of the smart textile market. Of all, it is the military and defense segment that dominates the market and held a 28.7% share in the global market in 2014.
Geographically, North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Rest of the World are the regional segments of this market. In 2014, North America stood as the largest region for smart textiles and held a 40.1% share in the global market. In the 2015-2023 period, the region will display a CAGR of 30.3%. The U.S. and Canada contribute the maximum revenue to this market.
Some top companies that are actively involved in the business for smart textiles are Globe Manufacturing Company LLC, Milliken & Company, Outlast Technologies LLC, Koninklijke Ten Cate nv, Gentherm Inc., E.l. DuPont De Nemours and Co., Ohmatex ApS, Texas Instruments Inc., Schoeller Technologies AG, and Noble Biomaterials Inc., among others.