A new approach to forecasting world textile and fibre markets that not only answers "what if" questions but also produces scenarios of future demand has been developed by David Rigby Associates (DRA).

The system describes and forecasts world end-use markets by country for individual textile products and then calculates the volumes and values of their fibre, yarn and fabric components.

It works from a database containing detailed analyses of the make up of about 350 final products in all end-use sectors (garments, carpets, interior textiles, nonwovens and technical textiles) in terms of 19 different fibres, eight kinds of yarn and 20 types of fabric.

Actual and potential inter-fibre and inter-fabric competition within each end-use are then quantified using two special DRA analysis techniques: the "Fabric Story Approach" and the "Theory of Blends". DRA says a key feature of the system is its computer based "All-Fibre, All End-Uses Model". This operates on the product database to calculate the changes in final demand, in total and for each type of fibre, yarn and fabric, that would be caused by changes in market drivers such as GDP per head, movements in relative fibre prices, improvements in processing technologies, the introduction of a new or modified fibre and changes in consumer lifestyles.

This ability to answer "what if" questions can be used to produce scenarios of future demand under different sets of assumptions, leading to strategies and action plans which can be expected to be robust in a wide range of future situations.

The new forecasting system has already been used to help companies estimate the sales volumes of new fibres and into which end-uses; and finding and quantifying new product and market opportunities for established fibres.