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The rise of technical textiles in India

Jun 25, 2020
The rise of technical textiles in India

Crises…the rising point for something extraordinary! With this positive thought, let us overcome the dark pandemic clouds crowded in our minds. There is no doubt that all around us every aspect of society is changing – from individual essentials to industries. The health and hygiene importance have already seen the rise of meditech in the world. And as we all know worldwide the dynamics of environment, safety, precision and quality products will be key players for the growth of industries. Countries will be emphasising more focus on infrastructure, health care, agriculture, home improvements, packaging sectors etc. thereby leading to the rise of technical textiles.

Indian textile Industry is poised to grow multifold, as a result of new world dynamics against the current No. 1 textile country – China. The global textiles market will drift away from China on account of the sentiments or may be as a result of international political issues. China currently holds approximately 30 per cent share in the global market, let us assume the current situation drifts almost 10 per cent of its share away, then this share can either be grabbed by India, Vietnam, Bangladesh or Cambodia. If all the other countries apart from India are researched, we will notice there is a very little scope for these countries to capture such huge market gap created. As they have already reached their saturation point, reasons being limited availability of raw materials and infrastructure. So a big opportunity is sure shot created for India to encash.

In case of technical textiles, USA and Europe are the leaders in its production with a global share of almost 55 per cent. Currently USA & Europe are largest importers of technical textile products. India’s global export share is merely 4 per cent and import share is 3 per cent for technical textile. Roughly 90,000 MT of technical textiles is produced in India. (Source: Ministry of textiles.)

If we do a general analysis, globally technical textile market will be the prime requirement of all developing countries. The organised countries in this domain like Europe and the US having 55 per cent share are bound to loose around 5 per cent of their share as they are already in the maturity stage. China currently in the growth sector with 13 per cent share is also bound to lose 10 per cent of its current share. So say about 5 per cent from organised countries and 1.3 per cent share lost by China then total share of 6.3 per cent will be available to grab on by other competing countries. In case of India, being a developing country with large population and huge growth potential. We with our merits can take around 50 per cent from the newly available share i.e. around 3 per cent additional share to our existing share. Which would be equivalent to 100 per cent increase of existing share.

It is forecasted, Asia-Pacific region is poised to have highest growth by 2022 estimated to capture 30 per cent of the global market share. In order to capture this share, we will have to double our current capacities. Expand and capture will be the motto forward.  All said, we have to understand that there is no stopping India’s growth. It is going to be a phenomenal growth ahead. The current shift of global market away from China, growth of developing countries and our own huge domestic markets are all contributing factors for our tremendous rise in textile and especially the technical textile segment.

Even though there are many sectors and applications in technical textiles which can be considered by Indian entrepreneur, I strongly feel that all new entrepreneurs need to assess themselves based on their capabilities, marketability, knowledge of the technology, location of operation, sourcing of raw materials and convertibility into finished products. Though the technical textiles is growing with a CAGR of 12 to 15 per cent, there needs to be market study to identify the products to be manufactured, market potential in coming years and by doing competitors analysis.

Can we convert existing business products into finished products? What are my requirements? What is my USP? It is only by researching answers to all these questions that an entrepreneur will be able to choose the right product for his business. Once the product is finalised, next step is selecting the right technology and then launching the product into the market in a way of sample penetration. Every entrepreneur should select unique product and technology combination. The concept of herd mentally will only cause losses for the Indian market.

We need to understand that, growth of technical textile in India is unstoppable. So as an entrepreneur one needs to answer which of the segments of technical textiles to invest into. Looking at our country’s strengths, I feel products which are direct consumer oriented like medical textiles, hygiene textiles, automotive textiles should be focused on. With the growth of athletic and fitness industry, sport textiles will soon be the essential requirement by a major population of our country. Looking at the growth of India’s manufacturing sector, industrial textiles will also be key segment with huge potential.

Agriculture being the backbone of economy, use of agro textiles on account of its benefits for fresh produces with better productivity will be another sector to look on. The growth of Industries in India is only happening because of infrastructure improvements. A more focus on increasing connectivity and reducing transit time will demand toll of improvements in the existing roads and many new highways. More canals will be built up in near future all leading to the growth of geotextiles.

Another aspect is to switch over to new products by replacing the current woven and knitting lines. Convert conventional textiles to technical textiles. It can be conversion into home textiles, disposable textiles and packtech, which are having major share in Indian markets. For example; packtech share is 42 per cent in Indian technical textiles indicating its huge potential. So, can we come out with a product replacement with cheaper cost, compatibility or if a higher cost product but saving other aspect. e.g. if we prepare food baskets with nonwoven, the current wastage of about 40 to 50 per cent while movement from farm to market can be reduced with efficient packaging materials.

Similarly another such product can be curtains used in hotels. Most of them are not replaced on regular basis as they are high priced elegant products produced using woven jacquard technologies.  Now with current pandemic, importance of hygiene is at peak so if we produce these curtains as disposable curtains that can be replaced on a monthly basis. The life of curtain is reducing but so is the price by almost 1/10th of the Jacquard technology curtains. Such innovative products are the way for properly capturing and penetrating this market. Bringing a new dimension to the market will be a way to succeed not only in replacing the imports but also in penetrating the global market. The key for success is to come out with such innovative products and by establishing marketing channels through market study.

So we know the basket of segments available, now based on an individual organisation strength, location dynamics and research on the quality norms, technical textile business is all set to rise high and reach beyond the skies. Opportunities are created in every possible scenario, it is now or never to move ahead and grab this opportunity.

- The article is authored by Avinash Mayekar, MD & CEO, Suvin Advisors