Over the last few years, there has been significant growth globally in demand of synthetic fibres in apparel, home furnishings and industrial applications.The total global annual consumption of synthetic fibres surpassed 65 million tonnes in 2016, accounting for a share of approx. 70% in the world fibre market of 84 mn. tonnes. Polyester is one of the most commonly used materials with 50 million tonnes mill consumption last year.
China is the leader of the global polyester market with a share of 65%.While MMF consumption in India is comparatively lower, there is significant growth potential in India considering strong demand fundamentals favoring MMF textiles. This article explores the current MMF industry in India and potential for growth.
Globally, polyester will continue to dominate textiles market
Current trade in synthetic textile and apparel is around US$ 265 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% to become US$ 490 bn. by 2025. Currently, polyester has a share of 52% in global fiber consumption while share of cotton is around 18%. Polyester is expected to dominate global textiles in the foreseeable future in almost all end use categories, while share of cotton is expected to decline.
The impressive growth and volume of polyester fiber consumption is driven by trends in the global market. Key trends include: increased emphasis on fitness and health, short fashion cycles, consumer demand of good quality at affordable prices, requirement of high performance material for automotive and industrial uses. Owing to these trends, polyester has proved to be the most cost-effective and adaptable fiber type. Its property of easily blending with other fibers like cotton and spandex makes it suitable for performance requirements. Polyester provides a combination of comfort and performance as it can be easily processed to improve the fiber properties. Hence, it has wide acceptance in various categories like sportswear, leisurewear, women dresses, home textiles, automotive, carpet, other industrial segments etc.
Indian textile industry is still cotton focused, however MMF has a bright future
Indian textile and apparel trade stood at US$ 40 bn in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9% to reach US$ 80 bn by 2025. India, today, is the second largest manufacturer and exporter of textile and apparel in the world after China. India’s domestic market currently stands at US$ 85 bn. and is expected to grow at 11% CAGR to reach US$ 220 bn.
Traditionally, Indian textile and apparel manufacturing industry has been cotton focused. Indian industry is dominated by cotton which accounted for around 54% of total fiber consumption in India while polyester had a share of around 38%.
However, going forward, due to supply side pressures and price volatility, cotton may struggle to satisfy growing demand in future. This, in turn, will increase the consumption of synthetic fibers, especially polyester.
In terms of international trade, India’s share in global synthetic T&A trade is around 3% at US$ 8 bn. The product basket of the country is majorly cotton focused while world trade is inclined towards Man Made Fiber (MMF). India’s presence is negligible in many highly traded apparel categories which are MMF based, as depicted below:
In the international market, there is an untapped opportunity in MMF based product categories, which can give an exponential growth to India’s export of textile and apparel. Various countries have developed their competitiveness in MMF sector by creating their USPs. For example, Taiwan has created its USP in research and is focusing on niche segment; China is producing in bulk quantities as per buyer needs at most cost competitive manner as they work on economies of scale; Japan has prospered due to its R&D while industrial cooperation and marketing power provides an edge to the Korean industry.
Several emerging trends to drive growth of polyester in India
Demand for polyester fibre will be driven by factors associated with both domestic and export markets.
1.Increase of overall pie size: The domestic apparel market currently stands at US$ 63 bn. (2016). By 2025, the demand for apparel in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11% to attain a size of US$ 160 bn. by 2025. This exponential growth of overall pie size will definitely drive higher consumption of polyester fibre owing to limited potential of cotton to satisfy growing demand.
2.Entry of global brands: Looking at the growing retail opportunities in domestic market, many global brands have already entered this market and more are in pipeline. The fibre mix of their product offerings is in favour of polyester. As these brands are increasing their sourcing volume from Indian manufacturers, polyester consumption is also increasing proportionately.
3.Growth of private labels: Business of private labels is increasing fast in domestic market. Most of them offer ‘value for money’ apparel and home textile products. The fibre mix is polyester rich. Cotton price volatility and upward trend have influenced the fibre mix more in favour of polyester fibre. This is helping in the growth story of polyester fibre consumption in India.
4.Growth in consumption of polyester based end products: Growing categories such as sportswear, women’s wear and active wear are driving demand of polyester textiles in the domestic market.
·Increasing women participation in workforce is pushing demand of western office wear, party dresses and lingerie.
·India’s large and young population base with increasing awareness towards fitness is boosting the consumption of active-wear.
·Stricter compliance norms and increasing workers’ awareness towards health and safety is creating large demand for protective wear products.
5.Increased consumption of technical textiles: Consumption of technical textiles is currently at a nascent stage in the domestic market. The domestic technical textiles market is currently at US$ 16 bn. and is expected to become US$ 45 bn. by 2025. With increase in consumer awareness about hygiene and safety, the consumption of disposable technical textiles is increasing fast. Growth of industries like automobile sector, investments in infrastructural facilities like roads etc. are also fueling the growth of technical textile consumption. In fact, growth has been observed in all types of technical textiles category.
1.China vacating space in international trade: Domestic demand of apparel in China is slated for a high growth. Per capita spend on apparel in China is growing which is making the domestic market very attractive for Chinese manufacturers. On the supply side, China is facing few challenges which is making them less competitive in international market. Overall China’s share in global trade is expected to reduce from current 40% to 35% by 2025. This lower-than-market performance will create a vacuum of ~US$ 50 Bn by 2025. India is best poised to capture maximum share of this opportunity. The fibre mix of this export market opportunity, in line with global trend, will be in favour of polyester fibre and thus will help in its consumption growth at mill level in India.
Biggest opportunity lies within fabric manufacturing and processing of MMF based textiles
India has advantages in terms of raw material availability, manpower availability, design capabilities, strong manufacturing competitiveness and presence of complete supply chain. With growing textile and apparel market of India and improving export competitiveness, there are significant opportunities across all fiber types and products. While India has relatively strong base in terms of fiber and yarn manufacturing, the biggest opportunity lies within fabric manufacturing and processing of MMF based textiles. Following is the scope that lies within the value chain:
§Staple Fiber and Filament - Existing Indian manufacturers can scale up the capacities but for specialty fibers, it is expected that international players will be investing on their own or in partnership with Indian players.
§Yarn Spinning - Existing Indian yarn spinners are competitive globally. They will be able to meet the demand growth through expansions as and when required.
§Weaving and Knitting - Significant investments will be required in knitting including warp knitting. Weaving infrastructure will need to be upgraded to handle specialty yarns and complex fabric types.
§Processing - Processing will be the main challenge for Indian sector. Players will have to opt for tie-ups with international partners for technical and market exposure.
§Garmenting, Made-ups and Technical Textiles - Industry will have to focus on design and product development aspect to sensitize demand growth. Technical textiles investments will be required from domestic as well as international players
A large part of the MMF based fabric manufactured and processed in India are low value added and primarily supplied to mass domestic market. However, there are many value added, performance based MMF fabrics, which are currently not being manufactured in India sufficiently and thus offer huge potential for future investments. Synthetic based fabric market is India is expected to be around US$ 40 bn. by 2025.
India imported around US$ 2.6 bn. worth fabric in 2016 and almost 50% of the fabric imported were MMF based fabrics. Amongst the fabric categories imported, the fastest growing category comes out to be MMF warp knit fabric. Apart from those, coated and laminated fabrics and MMF woven apparel fabric are also attractive categories. Demand for those fabrics is expected to be high in future as well.
The main reason for high imports of these fabric types is limited processing capability in India for fabrics especially those containing higher percentage of spandex. Fabric processing in India is mainly unorganized wherein there is lack of SOPs and good technology that leads to poor quality and issues with delivery and lead times. There is also limited participation of the organized sector in fabric manufacturing and processing.
Further, high quality finer denier polyester filament yarn required for high quality fabrics are not easily available in India, especially microfilament yarns of denier per filament less than 1. However the fabric made from these fine deniers have high demand in sportswear and fashion wear in India and globally. Currently a lot of these fabrics are imported from countries like Taiwan, Korea and China, primarily due to better technical knowhow available in these countries. However, with increasing costs of manufacturing in these countries there is opportunity for India to attract investments in manufacturing of those high value added product categories such as sportswear, lingerie, women’s wear, etc.
Industry and Government to continue working towards the growth of the industry
Indian textile industry will consume more polyester that cotton within next 10 years. India is the 2nd largest producer of polyester fiber globally with ~10% share in global polyester fiber production. India has positioned itself as one of the most competitive and advantageous nation to meet the growing demand for domestic consumption as well as exports.
Government has taken various initiatives to boost investment in the sector. Government has supported the establishment of 8 Centres of Excellences (COEs) that focus on various segments of technical textiles with focus on R&D activities related to man-made fibre textiles. Apparel Export Promotion Council has set up Knitwear Technology Mission project to develop innovative apparel categories for sportswear, swimwear and varieties of performance wear mainly from man-made fibres like polyester and nylon. Also there is lot of investment happening by the industry in the active wear segment.
In view of the immense untapped potential in the sector, Indian firms need to invest in MMF based textile manufacturing processes. Bring in technical know-how through Joint Ventures (JVs) can be head start for domestic companies. There is also a need for attracting FDI from countries like Taiwan, Japan and South Korea for high end synthetic textiles like performance wear fabric, technical textiles, etc.
Further, increased attention through exploring FTAs, collaboration with international R&D institutes for joint projects and incentivizing the Indian manufacturers to encourage indigenous production would be the supportive steps from government which would boost the Indian synthetic industry.
Sanjay Arora, Business Director, Wazir Advisors
Manjulika Poddar, Consultant, Wazir Advisors