GLEN ALLEN, VA -- The market for sensors and "smart" materials used in clothing will grow from roughly $212 million this year to more than $1.8 billion by 2021, according to a new report from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets.
Highlights from the Report:
Smart clothing might finally evolve to become the computing devices of the future with watches, displays, etc. being printed on fabrics. However, the materialization of either scenario depends on the industry's response in the direction of removing the main barriers to mass adoption of smart clothing. These historically have been, and continue to be, three key areas at the center of development: improved connectivity between modules, improved washability of smart fabrics, and standardized protocols. Here, then, lies the opportunity for both materials and sensor manufacturers to develop new and improved types of smart fabrics and sensors: lighter and soft flexible sensors, functional fabrics, conductive polymers, and even fibertronics -- electronically functionalized textile yarns without the need for attached sensors.
For suppliers of sensor devices, new techniques are in development, and attempts to standardize smart clothing are underway. Devices must also satisfy the requirements of end consumers and be perceived as value-integrated products, well-integrated with other devices and the greater Internet-of-Things. Siloed solutions will be replaced by wearable clothing that integrates multiple sensors, ultimately solving application-oriented needs -- though such functionality may not find favor with customers if it's merely what can be achieved through a smartphone, nor if it requires such a peripheral device as a control unit. NanoMarkets projects the market for sensors in smart clothing will grow from roughly $187 million in 2014 to $476 million by 2018, and $983 million by 2021.
For fabric and material suppliers, we see areas of opportunity in developing smart sensing fabrics, replacing metallic fibers with conductive polymers, and ultimately integrating nanomaterials (especially carbon nanotubes). Flexible and stretchable electronics, either through structural consideration or by exploring novel materials, have imparted mechanical compliance and bio-compatibility to otherwise rigid and brittle electronic devices. NanoMarkets projects The market for such smart materials in smart clothing is currently (and understandably) quite smaller compared with the sensor side, but we expect a far higher growth trajectory that will nearly equalize the two by the end of our forecast period -- growing from roughly $24 million in 2014 to $225 million by 2018, and $849 million by 2021.
Overall, NanoMarkets projects the smart clothing materials and sensor market to grow from $212 million in 2014 to $701 million by 2018 and $1.8 billion in 2021. Sports and healthcare segments are expected to lead the way, followed by military and fashion segments. In sensors, bio-sensors will dominate followed by pressure sensors. In the case of materials, we expect conductive polymers and conductive yarns to capture the most market share.
Details of the new report, "Smart Clothing Markets: Opportunities for Sensors and Smart Materials," including a downloadable excerpt, are available at: http://nanomarkets.net/market_reports/report/smart-clothing-markets-opportunities-for-sensors-and-smart-materials