The global market for spandex has been witnessing a noticeable increase due to rising demand from the textile and apparel industry. Spandex fibers are used in a wide range of apparels such as competitive swimwear, cycling jerseys, leggings, and gloves.
Spandex is generally mixed with synthetic and natural fiber such as polyester or cotton for clothing applications and contributes for a minimal percentage of the final fabric. In developed regions such as North America, spandex is mostly used in women clothing, and also accounts for a significant market share in clothing in economies such as the U.S.
Spandex fibers are significantly consumed in a wide range of textiles due to strength and strong elasticity as well its ability to return to its original shape after stretching as compared to ordinary fabrics. These fibers are especially incorporated in apparels such as skin tight garments, belts, competitive swimwear, cycling jerseys, leggings, gloves, activewear and athletic, aerobic and exercise garments.
Asahi Kasei Corporation, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, The Dow Chemical Company, and Toray Industries, Inc. are some of the leading manufacturers of spandex dominating the market.
To revitalize the market in the U.S., large scale corporation such as Asahi Kasei Corporation have made various efforts to achieve improved conditions and reduce the operating costs. However, having realized further investment in its US spandex business could no longer be justified, after exhausted such efforts and with no foreseeable prospect for a major recovery in the US market, the company decided to discontinue their spandex fiber operations.
Although the market for spandex is currently growing, it has been extremely challenging with demand being weak in emerging economies such as the U.S. since the global economic slow-down in 2008, due to which satisfactory trading performance has been quite difficult. Also, strong competition from its competitor natural latex, which is a natural fiber is expected to slow down the growth of the market.
However, focus on expanding the spandex market in emerging regions such as Asia Pacific is expected to provide new opportunities for the growth of the market.
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