Editorial

Spandex market growing twice as fast as other fibres

David Hart

Senior Consultant, Fibres

David is an expert in manmade fibres, with detailed knowledge of polyester and nylon fibre.

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As recorded in the new Global Spandex Market Report, the global spandex industry is growing aggressively, achieving a current CAGR of more than double the rate for conventional fibres. With global consumption now pushing past 650,000 tonnes/year, boosted by new apparel end-uses and new global populations of middle-class consumers, spandex is emerging from its previous smaller, ultra-specialist role. There appears to be little that will stop this positive growth trend as we look through to the end of the decade.

In parallel with this strong demand growth, we are seeing significant changes in the spandex supply base. The surge in Chinese production has been fuelled by international investments into China as well as a wave of local Chinese investment. The Global Spandex Market Report has identified a core group of Chinese spandex suppliers which are emerging from this mass of producers as real industry leaders — potentially with global leverage.

At the same time, the traditional spandex leaders — Invista, Hyosung and Asahi — are engaged in a diverse pattern of investments to achieve global leverage within the spandex industry. This industry is a complex battleground between different marketing philosophies, which the PCI Wood Mackenzie Report categorises as (1) consumer brand, (2) trade brand and (3) commodity. These three quite distinct market positions each determine the marketing support deployed and the complexity of product range which is supported. They consequently generate very different levels of pricing and margins.

Crucially, Invista's apparel yarn business – including its world-famous Lycra brand – is for sale, with owners Koch Chemical having received offers from a range of prospective buyers for this distinctive business. If Lycra were to be sold, this would potentially change many aspects of the current balances within the global spandex industry. The most recent edition of the Global Spandex Report, which is recognised as the lead publication in this product sector, sets out these complex themes in a professional and structured analysis.

As recorded in the new Global Spandex Market Report, the global spandex industry is growing aggressively, achieving a current CAGR of more than double the rate for conventional fibres. With global consumption now pushing past 650,000 tonnes/year, boosted by new apparel end-uses and new global populations of middle-class consumers, spandex is emerging from its previous smaller, ultra-specialist role. There appears to be little that will stop this positive growth trend as we look through to the end of the decade.

In parallel with this strong demand growth, we are seeing significant changes in the spandex supply base. The surge in Chinese production has been fuelled by international investments into China as well as a wave of local Chinese investment. The Global Spandex Market Report has identified a core group of Chinese spandex suppliers which are emerging from this mass of producers as real industry leaders — potentially with global leverage.

At the same time, the traditional spandex leaders — Invista, Hyosung and Asahi — are engaged in a diverse pattern of investments to achieve global leverage within the spandex industry. This industry is a complex battleground between different marketing philosophies, which the PCI Wood Mackenzie Report categorises as (1) consumer brand, (2) trade brand and (3) commodity. These three quite distinct market positions each determine the marketing support deployed and the complexity of product range which is supported. They consequently generate very different levels of pricing and margins.

Crucially, Invista’s apparel yarn business – including its world-famous Lycra brand – is for sale, with owners Koch Chemical having received offers from a range of prospective buyers for this distinctive business. If Lycra were to be sold, this would potentially change many aspects of the current balances within the global spandex industry. The most recent edition of the Global Spandex Report, which is recognised as the lead publication in this product sector, sets out these complex themes in a professional and structured analysis.