The protective properties of smart fabrics and recent technological innovations are fueling the growth in the industry.
Increasing adoption in the sports, fitness, military and medical fields is expected to propel the global smart textiles market from a $544.7 million industry in 2015 to worth $9.3 billion in 2024, a CAGR of 35 percent. This is according to a recent report by US-based business intelligence firm Grand View Research.
The protective attributes of such fabrics, including resistance to water, stains, UV rays and bacteria buildup, are among the key factors driving the popularity of smart textiles. Technological innovations leading to the emergence of phase-changing materials or PCMs, nano fibers and conductive polymers, which enable fabrics to measure physiological parameters such as body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, are likewise fueling the industry's growth.
Contributing more than 25 percent to the global market share in 2015, military and defense, where smart textiles are used to give troops additional protection, and enhanced communication and coordination, is anticipated to continue its upward trend in the next eight years.
Demand in sports and fitness is likewise predicted to grow significantly as the adoption of smart textiles increases users' comfort levels while eliminating the need for bulky equipment such as chest straps.
Medical application, which accounted for about 7 percent of the overall market revenue in 2015, is expected to grow faster than the global average driven by the need for technological advancements in administering nursing care, drug delivery and other procedures.
The prevalence of smartphones enabled with Bluetooth LE for connecting sensor-based devices to the Internet is also foreseen to push up market growth in coming years.
North America dominated the industry and contributed more than 45 percent of the global market share in 2015. The Asia-Pacific region, however, is expected to be the fastest-growing market with an estimated CAGR of 38.5 percent from 2016 to 2024. Standardization is anticipated to be critical for the industry to make the transition from specialized products to commercialization.