Spandex, elastane or lycra is an elastic synthetic fiber. It contains a combination of long chain polglycol, short chain diisocynate, and minimum 85% of polyurethane. Stabilizers and colorants are added to improve quality and enhance appearance of spandex. Spandex offers superior strength, weight, and versatility as compared to rubber. They have high elasticity and can be stretched 500% of their length. It is mainly used in fabrics due to its properties such as ability to be stretched, softness, smoothness, lightweight, easy dyeing, abrasion resistant, resistant to detergent, resistant to body oils and perspiration, and compatible with other materials and fibers. It is commonly used in textile and clothing industry and healthcare industry. Spandex is used in sportswear, active wear, casual clothing, under garments, home furnishings, diapers, bandages, and compression stocking and hoses.

Increasing use of spandex in healthcare and textile industry, increasing penetration in other industries such as automobiles, aviation and energy, and the launch of ecofriendly and bio-based spandex are the major market drivers of spandex market. Development of alternatives such as natural latex is the major threat to this market. However, many market players are investing significantly in research and development to improve characteristics of spandex such as elasticity, for further growth of spandex market.

Spandex -Market Taxonomy

On the basis of fabric type, the global spandex market is segmented into

  • Two Way Spandex
  • Four Way Spandex

On the basis of production process, the global spandex market is segmented into

  • Wet spinning
  • Dry spinning
  • Melt extrusion
  • Reaction spinning

On the basis of application, the global spandex market is segmented into

  • Medical
  • Textile
  • Others

Dry spinning is commonly used for synthesis of spandex as it is a cost effective method. However, the use of wet spinning method is increasing due to its application in manufacturing spandex for medical use. Textile is the largest application segment of spandex market, owing to increasing awareness about its stretching ability and increasing demand for sportswear.

Spandex -Market Outlook

  • Asia pacific is the largest and rapid growing market, owing to industrialization, improved standard of living, low cost of production and processing, and increasing foreign investments. Moreover, the presence of a large number of local players in India, China, and Japan is fueling the market growth. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Government of India, the apparel market in India is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 11.8% and is projected to reach US$ 180 billion by 2025 which, in turn, will drive the growth of the spandex market in India.
  • Europe is witnessed to have a fastest growing market mainly in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Netherlands. This is owing to the growing apparel and textile sector in this region. Thus, there is a significant demand for spandex in Europe.
  • There is a lucrative demand for spandex in textile and healthcare industry which has augmented the spandex market in North America.
  • In developing nations of Latin America, Africa, and Middle East, factors such as increasing population, increasing disposable income, and rising preference and adoption of spandex containing products are fueling the growth of spandex market in this region.

Key Players in the Global Spandex Market

The key market players in spandex market are adopting inorganic and organic strategies such as merger and acquisition, capacity expansion, and new product launch to sustain their position. Some companies operating in the spandex market include Asahi Kasei Corporation, DuPont, Hyosung Corporation, Indorama Industries Limited, INVISTA, Jiangsu Shaungliang Spandex Co., Ltd, TK Chemical Corp., Xiamen Lilong Spandex Co., Ltd, Yantai, Taekwang Industrial Co. Ltd., Tayho Advanced Materials Co., Ltd, and Zhejiang Huafon Spandex Co. Ltd.

Key Developments

Increasing adoption of spandex in electronic wearables is expected to boost the market growth. For instance, in May 2019, researchers from Heriot Watt University reported use of spandex in the development of a novel textile stitch-based strain sensor for wearable end users.

Increasing use of spandex in healthcare applications is also expected to boost the market growth. For instance, in September 2018, researchers from Soongsil University developed an approach to recognize human motion by combining textile stretch sensors based on single-walled carbon nanotubes and spandex fabric and machine learning algorithms in a realistic application.

Similarly, in February 2018, researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University reported use of spandex to design superabsorbent spacer fabrics for application in exuding wound dressings.

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