In 2018, the global conductive textile market was valued at ~US$ 1.2 billion, and is set to offer lucrative opportunities to market players during the forecast period. Conductive textile is used in various range of applications such as military & defense, sports & fitness, medical & healthcare, consumer electronics, etc. Increasing number of applications in wearable electronics like health monitoring, biomedical sensors, wearable displays, data managing devices, electromagnetic interference protection, and radio frequency interference protection are set to propel the conductive textile market growth over the forecast period.
Although the global conductive textile market is highly fragmented, few prominent players in the conductive textile market are 3M Company, Eeonyx Corporation, Laird, PLC, Metal Textiles Corporation, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Seiren Co. Ltd, Swift Textile Metallizing, LLC, Toray Industries, Inc., and others. Stakeholders in the conductive textile market are focusing on technological advancements, product innovations, and adoption of new materials to find cost-effective solutions with ideal enhancements. Conductive textile market players are also entering into long-term partnerships with end-use industries, raw material suppliers, and global players to have a strong presence in the worldwide market. These strategies help them cater to the dynamics in the conductive textile market. There is more focus on flexible, lightweight with high strength, and pocket-friendly products, which lead to the high demand for smart fabrics.
For instance, Bekaert offers conductive textile and yarns products under the brand name of Bekinox®. The product provided by Bekaert are ~100% stainless steel or can be blended with other materials like cotton and polyester to meet as per the application. Steel offers high conductivity and efficient transfer of data and energy, whereas yarns provide flexibility and durability to offer comfortable conductive textiles. A range of conductive textiles meet various applications in wearable electronics, sensors, antennas for RFID tags, and electrotherapy pads. Similarly, SEIREN Co. Ltd. offers conductive fabrics, flexible circuit boards for the wearable devices with infused sensors, which are equipped with LED, having a thickness of nearly 1mm. Furthermore, TORAY INDUSTRIES, INC. offers bio-electrode conductive Nano-fiber fabric under the brand name of hitoe™. These conductive textiles are infused with conductive polymers and monitor the physical state, stress level, and other parameters during sports training.
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Escalating Demand for Smart Fabrics and Other Innovative Solutions
Fact.MR’s study predicts the global conductive textile market to witness an average annual growth of ~5% during the forecast period. The global conductive textiles market is driven by high demand from the military and defense sector, followed by the healthcare sector. Global healthcare expenses are expected to grow at an average rate of nearly 6% over the forecast period, which will spur the growth of the conductive textile market over the forecast period. Furthermore, the expansion of the healthcare industry in developing markets, growing medical needs of the elderly population, and rising demand for advanced treatments and technologies are likely to propel the need for conductive textile in the healthcare industry.
The healthcare industry is all set to create substantial opportunities as there is significant production of wearable tech devices in recent years. Rising demand for smart fabrics, wearable devices, and increasing demand from several end-use industries like military, healthcare, and sports and fitness will boost the demand for conductive textiles over the forecast period. Rising demand for waterproof conductors, flexible and stretchable conductors, and multi-chip modules is also projected to drive conductive textile market growth and provide innovative solutions.
The growing need for more efficient medical imaging sensors, wearable antennas for wireless communications, etc. are set to drive the conductive textile market growth. There has been a rise of health monitoring products in the urban population with many benefits offered by conductive textiles in the medical industry.
Nano-technology is the solution to all setbacks occurring in the conductive textile market, which is attributed to its remarkable improvements like the development of antistatic, oil- and water-repellant, and flame-retardant textiles. Moreover, nanotechnology not only offers ultra-violet-light blocking but also offers self-cleaning along with flame-retardant and wrinkle-resistant properties. Nano-technology will open new doorways in the conductive textiles market.
Powering and Precise Implantation of Electronic Devices in Fabrics
Key factors that are expected to hamper the conductive textile market growth are the high costs involved at almost every stage of the supply chain from the manufacturing process to its end products, along with R&D investments for continuous improvements in products. The high cost of conductive textile is subjected to the infusion of electronic devices into the fabric, which adds up to the overall manufacturing costs. This is expected to slow down the growth of the conductive textile market, until and unless players find a cost-effective solution. The powering and precise implantation of electronic devices in fabrics will also restrain market growth. Concerns about use of toxins and high cost of manufacturing remain longstanding challenges for conductive textile manufacturers. In the backdrop of these challenges, the successful development of graphene-based cotton textiles is being touted as a breakthrough innovation.
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North America Will be the Prominent Regional Landscape in the Conductive Textile Market
Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing region among other geographical regions, which can be attributed to its massive military and defense industries and fast growing healthcare industry. The booming economy of developing regions such as China and India will create substantial demand for conductive textiles. Furthermore, these countries are mainly investing in military and defense products such as battlefield monitor trackers, soldier’s heath trackers, aids in communication, etc., which will drive the conductive textile market growth during the forecast period. For instance, in 2018, the Finance Minister of India allocated the defense budget of ~ US$ 4 trillion.
According to the International Air Transport Association, in the next 20 years, China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest aviation market, whereas India and Indonesia will break into the top five aviation markets. The aviation industry also looks for lightweight conductive materials. Therefore, conductive textile is set to become the ideal material in the future.
North America is prominent in the conductive textile market and is expected to continue to be so throughout the forecast period. This can be attributed to its higher spending on defense and health care. As per the report of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which was published in April 2019, the military expenditure of the United States was recorded to be ~US$ 649 Bn in 2018, which is more than the combined defense budget of next nine countries. Furthermore, in 2017, North America’s total health care spending was estimated to be ~US$ 3,500 billion. The increasing expenditure on military and health care is also creating demand for more advanced treatments, where conductive textiles will play a crucial role.
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Europe is also among the primary regions in the conductive textile market, which will create lucrative opportunities over the forecast period. The market is set to be driven by the increasing military spending due to threats from internal terror and other countries. Due to this, there will be an emergence of need for more sustainable army suits equipped with advanced electronic gadgets. The Middle East and Africa will also have a stagnant growth. Owing to the above mentioned factors, there will be an emergence of smart conductive textiles, which will drive the conductive textile market growth over the forecast period.
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