Big Mac S
Sandwich and Technical Textiles
Indian technical textiles industry should focus on consumer products. Readers may wonder what is the relationship between a food item such as a sandwich or a burger and technical textiles such as diapers, feminine care and hygiene products. The common thread connecting these products is that they are all fast moving consumer goods. This also begs the question: If some products in the technical textiles sector are becoming a necessity, then why has the consumption of consumer products not surged in India? There are many factors that influence the growth of the consumer tech-tex sector; some of them are: 1) Product knowledge and marketing expertise; 2) Economy; 3) Cultural Patterns and Lifestyle Changes and 4) Cost of the product. In my view, of the above factors, its the cost that plays a major role in the acceptance of consumer tech-tex products and impacts the growth of the Indian technical textiles industry.
Most recently, Government of Indias growth number for the Indian technical textiles industry is extremely encouraging and raises eyebrows in some circles. According to latest statistics, Indian tech-tex sector will register double digit growth in the next five years and will reach a market value of US .7 billion dollars by 2017. When I reported this information recently in many technical textiles related LinkedIn groups, reactions were swift and invited concerns and curiosities. An important point was, how was this number arrived upon? May be consumer and industry surveys, industry intelligence or macroeconomic data has led to this number. Although one could give a number of plausible explanations, it has raised one important issue. If the growth rate is so high and the market size is also large, why arent there many new projects emerging? Additionally, why isnt the industry mushrooming? Such growth numbers and promotional programs by the textiles ministry and trade bodies have given an impression that this sector (Indian Tech-tex) is akin to the IT sector. It can be considered true in a relative sense as the Indian Tech-tex (IT) sector is a growth sector and has both domestic and export opportunities. However, there will be many dis-similarities as the two sectors are totally different. But, the common thread is that the two IT sectors are having growth trajectories.
INDIAN TECH-TEX INDUSTRY NOT MUSHROOMED: WHY?
Being in the technical textiles field for over a decade now, after many interactions with experts all over the world and constant soul searching, I am trying to find answer to the important albeit complex question: why has the Indian tech-tex industry not mushroomed yet? A general understanding on the basic nature of this industry will be pathway towards answering some questions. Tech-tex can be grouped according to: 1) Consumer and 2) Industrial. According to end-users, the tech-tex industry can be grouped into: 0) Individual Consumers; 2) Institutional and 3) Government.