Production and end-user growth in emerging markets, coupled with improved products, will lead growth in the global breathable textiles market according to new analysis of the sector.

Research into the 'World Breathable Textiles Market' by Frost & Sullivan reveals that this sector earned revenues of EUR620.0m (US$831m) in 2006 and is likely to reach EUR1.03bn in 2013.

"Strong growth rates, particularly in countries such as China, are attracting many new entrants to Asia Pacific, leading to reduced opportunities in the North American and European markets," explains Frost & Sullivan research analyst Dr Elizabeth Duplock.

"The impact of this increasing trend on the breathable textiles market is expected to be very high over the next one to two years."

With growth in established regions likely to be limited, companies will have to focus on emerging markets that offer better opportunities. They can also target applications that have low penetration rates of breathable textiles such as workwear and safety gear, the report says.

Simultaneously, identifying new applications and improving new products by introducing various innovations will also help create new growth avenues.

Since entry barriers to the breathable textiles market in terms of capital investment and technology are low, this is attracting many new entrants, especially small and medium-sized companies. The result of this is a highly fragmented market with intense competition and increased price pressures.

Products with superior performance are one of the few ways companies can achieve price premiums and distinguish themselves from the competition. In addition, communicating the benefits of product innovations will help gain and retain customer loyalty.

The report highlights some innovations that companies could consider, including enhancing the functionality of waterproof, breathable textiles by incorporating flame retardancy, chemical resistance, antibacterial, or odour elimination properties.

"Another way to ensure price premiums through innovation is for companies to focus on very high-tech, high-end applications," adds Dr Duplock.