IFAI releases 2011 State of the Industry research report

The Industrial Fabrics Association International has released its "2011 State of the Specialty Fabrics Industry" report.

IFAI Market Research Manager Jeff Rasmussen created this comprehensive overview to give businesses the essential data they need to make informed decisions.

The "2011 State of the Specialty Fabrics Industry Report" focuses mainly on the U.S., specifically on market size, key markets, changes in the market, how U.S. companies are meeting the challenge of market changes, emerging markets such as nonwovens, and the market outlook. It also includes brief overviews in four specific U.S. specialty fabric market segments: Military, construction, transportation and recreation.

According to Rasmussen, "Overall, slower and gradual growth has become the norm in the reset specialty fabrics industy, resulting in a complete market restructure. The reduced number of product manufacturers today have developed a more focused market approach, doing more with fewer resources."

The down economy forced many manufacturers to streamline or specialize in market segments in which they could effectively compete. Successful manufacturers began to reap the fruits of their labor in 2010.

"Most markets across the world show consumer spending restraint," says Rasmussen. "Consumers worldwide remain concerned about the soft labor market, personal finances, the tight credit market and their ability to buy. There simply hasn't been enough positive news to spark a sustainable uptick in consumer spending."

The Asia-Pacific region is the exception, according to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index. Nine of the top 10 most business- and consumer-confident nations are from the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia's influence
Key drivers for future growth in the worldwide specialty fabrics market are expected to come from Asia, especially China and India, whose specialty fabrics markets both grew at an annual rate of 10 percent in 2010. Growth in Asia's specialty fabrics market was about seven percent, well ahead of the one percent growth experienced in the United States.

Room for optimism
Rasmussen says there are rays of hope: "Overall, geosynthetic suppliers/distributors are optimistic that 2011 will yield better results for geosynthetic business in terms of increased sales and an overall improvement in general business conditions."

The State of the Industry is an annual look at the status of the U.S. specialty fabrics industry based on IFAI research. Visit Market Watch in the February issue of the Specialty Fabrics Review.

A more comprehensive and updated analysis, with detailed information on specific markets, will be available for purchase from the IFAI bookstore in May. About IFAI The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) is a business trade association promoting the products and innovations of the specialty fabrics industry since 1912, and is comprised of 1,900 member companies in 54 countries. Visit www.ifai.com for more information.