Bromsgrove, UK -- Online textile industry expert Just Style notes in a new market report that the performance apparel market is likely to see a "significant and painful" drop in 2009, caused by the global economic problems, and an absence of major sporting events this year. And this may result in some significant consolidation in the sector, the group says.
Nevetheless, long-term prospects for the sector are good, indicates the 2009 edition of just-style's 'Global market review of performance apparel - forecasts to 2016.' The review, which covers sportswear (including clothing for walking/climbing, mountain biking and skiing) and protective wear, notes that the falling market will hit both sales and also cash flow, affecting the ability to invest in capital and research and development projects.
According to Just Style's estimates, performance sportswear will be down by $300 million in 2009, a 4.6-percent reduction on 2008 caused by lower spending than in an Olympics year plus low consumer spending.
And it forecasts that performance protective wear, will be down by $40 million - a drop of 2.4 percent, as businesses cut back.
Looking ahead, just-style believes that both segments will continue to outperform active sportswear and workwear.
Performance sportswear will grow from 2012 to 2016 by $800 million, a rise of 11.9 percent and performance protective wear will grow by $130 million, a 7.6 percent increase, over the same period.
In new technology, Just Style notes an exciting development in remote monitoring of vital signs - valuable both from a military point of view and medically, allowing long-distance assessement for example of how patients are dealing with medication in their homes.
Integration of electronics into textiles also opens new opportunities in sports, fashion, safety, medicine and healthcare, the group said, noting potential use in firefighters' equipment to measure vital signs, and in global positioning sensors. Other uses Just Syle notes are clothes which monitor a wearer's blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels and other signs; and smart bandages to monitor how a wound is healing.
But such technological excitement must be seen in the harsh light of commercial reality, the report cautions. In the aftermath of the credit crunch, sector consolidation is inevitable: "many medium-sized typical performance apparel companies will merge or be acquired," it notes. The next two years could see "a flurry of merger and acquisition activity," the report warns.
The report costs £595 from wwwjust-style.com.
PIC : Snowboarding requires ski-type clothing (pic from Bayer MaterialScience)