Electronic Textiles, a combination of electronics and textiles have been in development for over a decade but have started gaining attraction in present times. This fabric possess the capability to function electrically as electronics as well as behave physically as textiles. The global e-textile market was valued $100 million in 2015 and is anticipated to contribute $870 million by 2022 by witnessing a CAGR of approx. 36.2% during the forecasted period 2016-2022. The overall market is expected to gain prominence over the projected period. The global e-textile market is anticipated to possess high growth potential due to innovations in wearable technology, technological proliferation and intelligent clothing by expert wearable computing designers. Some of the finest examples of technological innovations in wearable technology includes Babypod, Beddit Sleep tracker, Spartan Boxer Shorts and various others. The rapid growth in wearable technology is majorly driving the growth of the e-textiles market. From Q4 2014 – Q4 2015, the wearable sales witnessed a growth rate of approx. 126%. In 2015, the wearable devices sold were numbered 78.1 million units, up from 25.3 million units in 2014. The significant growth in the wearable technology creates a wider scope for the e-textile market in the upcoming scenario. Wide application areas of e-textiles in healthcare, fashion, sports & fitness and military & defense have also attributed significantly towards the growth of the global market. However, the high cost of e-textile products and lack of ability & capacity for bulk manufacturing are hampering the growth of the e-textiles market. High amount of patents in this field by the e-textile inventors and universities act as a major barrier in the market expansion.
The global e-textiles market can be segregated on the basis of applications, type of electronic devices and by materials & components. The numerous applications areas of e-textile includes medical & healthcare; home & lifestyle; fashion; sports & fitness; wellness; industrial, commercial & military; and other applications. Amongst them, industrial, commercial and military sector accounts for the major share in the global e-textile market. E-textile are been majorly used in military sector, in order to increase the functionality and efficiency of the defense systems. Moreover, Medical & Healthcare and Sports & Fitness segments are anticipated to witness the highest growth rate over the projected period 2016-2022. So far, the major sector for applications of e-textile has been in military & defense sector. From smart shirts that possess the ability to record heart beats to intelligent bands that can track physical activities, e-textiles have played a vital role in the healthcare and sports & fitness products. E-Textile in the form of fitness monitoring devices have gained significant demand from the health conscious people. One of the finest example of the e-textile product in the healthcare sector is Wearable Defibrillator developed by the LifeVest Division of Zoll Medical Corporation. This device possess the capability to monitor the patient’s heart with dry, non-adhesive sensing electrodes in order to detect the life-threating abnormal heart treatment rhythms. If an alarming rhythm of the heart is detected, the vest indicates signal to the patient and in case if the signal is not stopped by the patient, this device releases the gel over the therapy electrodes as well as delivers an electric shock to restore the normal rhythm. The development of such products have attributed towards the growth of the e-textiles in the healthcare sector. The market can further be bifurcated on the basis of type of electronic devices including classical electronic devices and modern electronic devices. Classical electronic devices includes batteries, LED’s, wires and integrated circuits. Whereas, Modern electronic devices comprises of solar cells, diodes, conducting fibres and transistors. Modern electronic devices segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecasted period owing to the lower power consumption by devices in comparison to classical electronic devices.
The geographic analysis of e-textile market includes North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and RoW. In 2015, North America region accounted for the largest market share of approx. 40% in terms of revenue. The growth within this industry is attributed by the growing demand for these products in the healthcare and sports & fitness sector. The low labor and raw material cost in Asian Countries such as India, China and Japan has transformed the region into a manufacturing hub for such technology. This has resulted in the decline in the overall production of e-textile in Europe. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing region in the global e-textile market during the forecasted period. However, rise in R&D activities for such e-textile sponsored within the EU FP7 and FP6 programs is uplifting the industry in the European countries.
The key players of e-textile market include Fibretronic Ltd., Accenture PLC, Apple, AIQ Smart Clothing Inc., Adidas AG, Clothing Plus Ltd., Interactive Wear AG and Ohmatex. Mergers and acquisitions, product launch and strategic partnership are the key strategies employed by the market players for gaining major market share. On September 2016, Apple and Nike launched Apple Watch Nike+, the result of a long-standing partnership between the companies. This product is considered as the ultimate tool for the individuals who runs, pairing exclusive Apple Watch Series 2 with Nike Sport Bands which features GPS, water resistance 50 meters and various other qualitative features. This product launch is expected to strengthen the share of the two companies in the global e-textile market.