With the recent advent of smart socks, smart shirts, & even smart jackets, smart clothing industry has been gaining momentum in the category of smart and future wearables technology. Smart clothing or e-Textile is steadily becoming a reality, as sensors, electronic, and digital technologies have blended seamlessly to offer the functionality of smart devices to textiles & clothing. This convergence of textile and digital industries is set to bring huge commercialization and standardization to the worldwide smart clothing industry. As per a report compiled by Global Market Insight, Inc., smart clothing market is projected to grow at a healthy CAGR of 50% over 2017-2024 in terms of shipments.
Smart clothing industry has been forecast to face certain challenges at its initial stages, notwithstanding the predictions made about it being one of most lucrative businesses in recent times. Some of these constraints lurk along the lines of high product prices, unreliability, and personal security threats. Moreover, on the technical front, the present-day challenges of smart clothing industry such as limited battery life, wireless technology, huge capital investment, wash ability, and complexity of data analysis remain consistent.
Data security and processing speed play a crucial role in healthcare, military & defense, and sports, on the grounds of which they can be classified as the prominent application arenas encompassed by smart clothing industry. The on-going research and advancements in sensor technology, the Internet of Things, and big data analysis, will prove to be reliable sources that can help smart clothing technology go mainstream. Industry experts foresee smart clothing market to move in a positive direction, as this technology holds immense growth potential across myriad application sectors. Companies are expected to pour in huge investments to develop this technology and expand its application spectrum. Moreover, with more and more players planning to harness the power of smart technology in the clothing industry, it is quite obvious for the wearables sector to witness a slew of product innovations. For instance, Google has been working with Levis on smart jackets that would allow the users to interact with their devices and control applications like music player, camera, and navigation. As technology evolves, it is expected that the global smart clothing market will facilitate colossal growth opportunities in healthcare, sports & fitness, military, and industrial applications.
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An insight into the application landscape of smart clothing market
Smart clothing is seen as a way to revolutionize and transform the healthcare sector, as it offers a huge potential for helping to improve an individual’s health. Smart clothing industry players are focusing on the idea of weaving electronics into a fabric like a shirt, or cap, or blanket that could perform specific patient care functions. Moreover, many medical device manufacturers and healthcare providers are actively monitoring smart clothing pilot projects and research that can track chronic diseases, help patients feel comfortable during hospital stays, track their health status, and boost health insights.
Military & defense
Several government institutions are investing in smart clothing industry to develop military uniforms that are technologically advanced and can also provide insights on the health of soldiers, injuries, the impact of bullets, explosions, and the like. This would generate lucrative growth prospects for smart clothing industry expansion in the military sector. As per estimates, the military and defense application within smart clothing market is estimated to witness the highest annual growth rate of 55% over 2017-2024.
The prominent players partaking in smart clothing industry share have been emphasizing on building partnerships with tech-giants & clothing firms, in conjunction with targeting their focus on diversifying their service spectrum. Recently, a Japanese startup firm Xenoma has launched a motion and gesture-tracking smart shirt called as the e-skin. Having been integrated with stretchable wires, sensors, and textile, e-skin is set to provide a larger platform for fitness and health monitoring. Ralph Lauren, Athos, and Catapult Sports are some of the other industry giants, who are actively investing in commercializing smart clothing technology in the coming years, which would undeniably create a profitable growth map for smart clothing market.