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Apparel Industry Drives Demand for Plant-Based Fibers

The market growth of cellulose fibers — fibers derived from natural, plant based materials — will be driven almost entirely by the retail apparel industry, according to a recent report from Transparency Market Research.

“The growing demand for biodegradable, environmentally friendly and skin-friendly fabrics and clothing from the textile industry has been driving the global market,” the report explained.

But although environmental issues have boosted demand for cellulose fibers from apparel manufacturers, environmental concerns have also inhibited growth. Concern about the toxic byproducts of wood pulp processing, in particular, have led to more extreme regulation covering wood fibers.

The report, which analyzes, measures and forecasts trends for cellulose fibers into 2018, also indicated the global market for plant-based fibers was valued at $12.63 billion in 2011. By 2018, the report predicts that market will be worth $24.17 billion — a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8%.

Some 60 percent of total cellulose fiber consumption was made on behalf of the apparel industry in 2011, and is predicted to grow 7.6% between 2012 and 2018. The recent growth of China and India’s textile sectors made Asia Pacific responsible for 45 percent of demand for plant-based fibers in 2011.