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Smart clothing industry defining the future of wearables, fashion-technology fusion to characterize the industry landscape


With IOT having metamorphosed the profitability landscape of practically every industry, smart clothing industry is pioneering as the next big thing in this revolution queue. The industry is profoundly scripting its evolution tale with the tech-fashion makeover. Demonstrating an appreciable equation between electronics & textile industries, smart clothing market is slated to transform the commercialization spectrum of the global wearables industry in the coming years.

 

Growth Potential: Fashion Industry Smart clothing market demand

The phenomenally growing fashion industry justifies the growth potential of the smart clothing market projected by the analysts. Fashion is one of the most significant industries driving a considerable part of the global economy. As per the estimates, in 2016, the global fashion industry registered close to a valuation of USD 2.5 trillion. However, taking a look at the yesteryear’s fashion industry growth trends, it is apt to quote it as one of the hardest years for the fashion sector both in terms of revenue as well as the changing consumer behavioral patterns.

 

 

The need of the hour to sustain the revenue grip is to address the evolving demands from the smart consumers. In response to this, following the footsteps of the other industries, the textile too has remarkably embraced the technology waves. The incorporation of technology in the core product designs and manufacturing processes pertaining to the fashion industry is indeed a testimony to the commendable scope of the smart clothing market in the years ahead.

 

Re-evaluation of fashion trends underlined by mergers of Technology and Clothing firms

In this scenario, where the demand for smarter wearables is indeed phenomenal, clothing industry has rationally tied up with technology sector or vice versa to meet the tech-oriented clothing demand. The recent partnership inked between Google and Levi’s is one of the most prominent examples portraying the evolving trend in smart clothing industry. The technology behemoth and the apparel giant have clubbed their expertise to develop a smart jacket as a continuation of the former’s Project Jacquard, which revolves around the concept of turning the fabric into digital sensors that can be connected to smartphones to control applications like navigation, music player.
 

Another such instance where smart clothing industry depicted the fashion-tech amalgamation was the collaboration between Ralph Lauren Corp., one of the most renowned names in the apparels industry and OMsignal, a wearable technology player. The two companies blended their proficiencies to develop PoloTech Shirt, based on biometric technology. The shirts were incorporated with sensor bands at the pectorals to track heart rate, breathing, calories, activity intensity, etc. This seamless integration of technology and apparel is sure to provide a dynamic push to the global smart clothing market.
 

Reportedly, Samsung, the renowned electronics industry player is also foraying the smart clothing industry landscape by developing smart business suits, shirts, belts, and other wearables, which defines the strong and dynamic competitive hierarchy of the smart clothing industry space.
 

The industry, though being in its infancy, is characterized by a fiercely competitive platform, with a slew of new entrants participating in the revenue battle. Some of the major companies having a recognized presence in smart clothing market are as under:
 

Company

Location

Domain

AIQ Smart Clothing Inc.

Taiwan

Sports & fitness, home & leisure, outdoor & leisure, home care & health care

Clothing Plus Ltd.

Finland, USA

Fitness and Healthcare

Textronics, Inc. (Part of Adidas Group)

USA

Sports & fitness, health & wellness, military & safety

Sensium Healthcare

UK

Healthcare

VivoMetrics

USA

Wearable technology

Schoeller Technologies AG

North America, Europe, Asia

Functional clothing and textiles

Grado Zero Espace

Italy, Europe

Wearable Technology

Athos

California

Fitness & Healthcare

Catapult Sports

Australia

Wearable Technology

Heddoko

Montréal, Quebec

Ergonomics and Sports

Hexoskin

Montréal, QC

Fitness & Healthcare

OMsignal

Montréal, QC

Wearable Technology

Sensoria Inc.

USA

Fitness & Healthcare

Ralph Lauren Corporation

USA

Sports & Fitness

LikeaGlove

Israel

Wearable Technology

 

Smart Clothing Market | Value Chain Analysis

The value chain for smart clothing industry applications primarily hinges on data analytics. The potential scope of smart clothing is way bigger than just providing individual insights. The predictive algorithms gathered from analyzing data through these wearables are paving a way for the organizations on the whole to explore and harness new opportunities, the ones for which data is the key.
 

The following table depicts the value chain of the smart clothing industry.
 

Raw Materials

  • Sensors
  • Actuators
  • Conductors
  • Fiber & Fabric

System Integrators

  • Fabric/Textile Manufacturers
  • Electronic Components Manufacturers

End-Users

  • Sports & Fitness
  • Healthcare
  • Military & Defense
  • Industrial
  • Infotainment / Entertainment


Elaborating the end-use landscape of smart clothing industry, the product penetration beyond personal to commercial and business applications is still in its nascent stage. However, in terms of market size and financial potential, the prospect is huge.
 

End-User 1 – Sports & Fitness | Smart Clothing industry Analysis | Potential Market Size & Opportunities

Statistics and data analytics have the power to reform the athletics industry, one of the highly risk involving domains globally. Reportedly, close to a valuation of USD 33 billion was spent in treating 12 million sport injuries in 2014. Statistics further claim that out of the total reported injuries, 50% were preventable, a number big enough to save the huge loss incurred. This data draws a rather vivid picture of smart clothing market potential in sports & fitness industry. The adoption of smart clothing in the sports & fitness domain can fetch in large amount of biometric data, insights derived from which can aid in performance improvements and injuries prevention.
 

Athos, a renowned athletic & smart clothing industry player, is working with the U.S. based Golden State Warriors to use smart clothing to prevent injury and optimize player performance. In fact, this investment represents only a fraction of involvement of the United States athletics sector in the intriguing smart clothing industry landscape. As per the projections by Global Market Insights, Inc. U.S. smart clothing market is expected to rule the global landscape over 2017-2024.
 

Recently, Dupont also made its debut in the smart clothing industry with the launch of ‘DuPont Intexar’. Reportedly, Intexar transforms ordinary fabrics into connected, intelligent garments that provide biometric data including heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, and form awareness. Allegedly, In July, 2017, Dupont also unveiled two smart clothing garments powered by Intexar Technology at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City.  The first product was a Body Plus Smart Fitness shirt with the capability of collecting real-time data based on body movements. The second product comprised an OMsignal fitness sports bra and attractive lifestyle bra with both having the ability to capture real time ECG, physical, and respiratory activity. Speaking along the similar lines, analysts project smart clothing market to procure a substantial amount of its revenue from the sale of smart t-shirts, which as per estimates will record a CAGR of 50% over 2017-2024.

 

End-User 2 – Healthcare | Smart Clothing industry Analysis | Potential Market Size & Opportunities

Healthcare industry is indeed a major growth source for smart clothing market, the overt driving factor being the exponentially increasing global healthcare expenditure. In response to the increasing cost concerns, medical devices manufacturers and healthcare providers are proactively commencing smart clothing projects and research in integration with e-textiles technology.
 

As per the estimates, since the year 2000, the European Union (EU) has invested more than 500 M€ in R&D projects with regards to smart clothing and smart garments. In fact, Europe is one of the prominent regions witnessing a huge demand for wearable technology in medicine and healthcare, a large portion of the demand coming from the elderly population. The investments focus on potential savings in healthcare systems and improvement of patients lifestyles.
 

Smart clothing is being perceived as one of the primary ways of predicting catastrophic and injury prone situations before they occur. Clothes or textiles remain in direct contact with almost 90% of the skin surface, which substantiates the potential of  smart clothing market in patient-centric healthcare model.The data-driven insights derived from these clothings can enable better patient care along with reducing the dramatically increasing healthcare costs.
 

Pertaining to the healthcare costs, workplace injuries have been quoted as one of the primary drivers. In fact as per BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and OSHA, hospital workers, predominantly nurses have the highest rate of workplace injury, almost 6.8 out of 100 employees. Staistics claim that over 50% of the injuries fall in the category of ‘preventable’, which again justifies the potential of smart clothing industry in healthcare fraternity.
 

Speaking of the product trends in the field of healthcare applications of smart clothing industry, ‘smart undergarments’ are taking this domain by the storm. Recently, engineers from The Vanderbilt University have developed a smart undergarment that addresses the highly prevailing low back pain symptoms. As per the estimates, more than half of adults suffer from low back pain, a disease which generates approximately USD 30 billion medical cost and USD 100 billion low productivity cost each year in the U.S. Tapping this opportunity with regards to preventng the back pain and addressing the increasing burden of medical costs, smart undergarments have a long way to go pertaining to its commercialization potential in the overall smart clothing industry.
 

Reducing the patient visits to hospitals, addressing chronic ailments, tracking physical & respiratory activities, it is quite apt to mention the application scope of smart clothing market in healthcare industry as nothing but humongous.
 

End-User 3 – Military & Defense | Smart Clothing Market Analysis | Potential Market Size & Opportunities

Another sector boasting of a phenomenal market size and opportunity for smart clothing industry is military and defense, where the techology  penetration is embraced majorly on two grounds- health insights of individual soldiers and the overall battlefield insights. As per the estimates, in 2016, the spending on textiles and clothing by the U.S military was approximately USD 1 billion, which is expected to further grow substantially in the years ahead, of course with technology integration. It is worth noticing that this trend is not only popular in the U.S. but also at the global level. In fact, statistics claim that the global smart clothing industry share from military and defense applications is expected to witness a CAGR of 55% over 2017-2024.
 

An elaborated outlook of smart clothing market opportunity in the military and defense application can be understood by analyzing the U.S. potential with regards to this evolving tech trend. As per the reliable sources, the U.S. military comprises close to 1.4 million active personnel, spanning across the army, navy, coast guard, air force and marine corps. Reportedly, approximately, 850,000 U.S. soldiers have been injured in the two recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resultant war bill pertaining to the spending on injuries treatment was approximately USD 1.7 trillion, which vividly explains the burden on not only the U.S. but the global economy on the whole. Assuming that the smart clothing would have prevented a minor 10% of the injuries in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, it would still have saved a whopping amount on USD 165 billion (approximately). Realizing the gravity of the situation, the U.S. army in partnership with Foster Miller and Maiden Mills Industries has developed apparels for military personnels addressed as Under Armor that uses data algorithms to deliver insights pertaining to health, wound and injuries, and mission status. Another major development in this field was cited last year when the U.S. Department of Defense announced an investment of USD 75 million in creating ‘Advanced Functional Fabrics of America’- an association of 89 companies, researchers, startups, and universities that would develop innovative fibers and textiles for the U.S. defense mission. The developments, since then, have never taken a back seat with regards to this domain and have clearly pointed toward the enormous potential defense holds for the expanding smart clothing industry.
 

Despite having a strong application pipeline, lack of awareness, huge R&D investments, high price trends, and risks involved with the ROI from manufacturer’s perspective may create obstacles in the path of smart clothing industry growth in the coming years. However, with the increase in appetite for techology across the industry verticals,  it is quite unarguable that smart clothing industry, though currently representing a very minor fraction of the colossal wearables industry has a rather lucrative commercialization matrix ahead. Global Market Insights, Inc. projects global smart clothing market to register a CAGR of 50% over the period of 2017-2024.
 

Global Market Insights, Inc. has a report titled “Smart Clothing Market Size By Product (T-shirts, Pants, Shoes, Undergarments, Jackets, Socks), By Application (Sports & Fitness, Healthcare, Military & Defense, Industrial, Entertainment), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, France, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Mexico), Growth Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2017 – 2024” available at
https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/smart-clothing-market