Medical Textiles- A beginning of new era, opens new vistas.

Medical textiles- India


Medical textile is a derivative of Textile that includes the textile materials used in hygiene, health and personal care as well as surgical applications.  Medical textile is a unique synergy of textile technology and medical science. Medical Textile is identified as a sunrising industry in the present context of improved health consciousness among people and professionals attached to healthcare sector. This sector is growing rapidly across the globe to meet the diverse requirements of people with the change of life style &growing consciousness on hygienic issue and safe living. The industry is still in nascent stage in India though there is a huge surge in consumption pattern in recent years. It is reported that Indian industry is mostly confined in manufacturing of consumable items like surgical cotton, and dressings including pads in medical textiles. There are few manufacturers in the area of health care products in southern states mainly in Tamil Nadu. India till now mostly depends on imported items. Medical textiles are mainly classified into broad two categories namely Consumer products and hospital products. Consumer products mainly encompass the products that take care of health directly like sanitary napkins, baby diapers, wipes and adult diapers etc. Hospital products encompass many items like Surgical gowns, surgical drapes consumable items are like dressings, absorbent cotton, pad, suture and mask etc. Medical textiles are produced in diverse features, sourcing the materials from fiber to fabric. All variety of fabrics like; Woven, Knitted, braided and Nonwovens are used as medical textiles for diverse purposes. The medical textile manufacturers are widely scattered in various states, hence; statistics & data are not rightly available till now. But it’s a fact that manufacturing activity of such products is quite scientific and a lot of compliances are required to maintain hygienic norms & standards as set by the buyers and it also needs a regulatory compliance and license. One has to have professional acumens while planning to set up such industries.

It is reported that USA is the leading manufacturer of medical textiles followed by Germany, UK, South Korea and Japan. China has joined in the bracket of manufacturing leaders in recent times and captured a substantial share in global market. As per information available, global market of medical textiles is growing at around 5 percent and expected to grow little higher in the coming years as the pandemic is spread world wise that infused an improved consciousness of health among people & professionals attached to hospitals and other places and that will enhance the requirements of medical textiles hugely. The Global market was valued at US$16,786.6Mn in 2018 and expected to reach US$ 2025. The estimated demand may spike further after the pandemic. India has failed to make a big dent in world market till now either as a manufacturer or as an exporter, though our consumption pattern indicates a big surge in last decade with a growth rate of 5-20 percent in various categories and consumption got escalated substantially during the pandemic. Indian manufacturers made a big attempt to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the pandemic but failed to make a big breakthrough in absence of adequate knowledge& technical excellence. Rajkot in Gujarat became a hub of manufacturing a wide range of Mask. Gujarat and Haryana are known for manufacturing surgical cotton and dressings for long. But such effort failed to yield a big outcome in absence of requisite frame work. There is no standard practice, formulated right from materials to finished product conforming to standards in international circuits. Govt. of India has laid serious emphasis on Technical textiles since 11th plan and a scheme was specially designed to give a fillip to this sector. Concerned stake holders are also on the job to frame various norms to boost manufacturing activities to meet the domestic needs. Further growing global market also brings an opportunity to the industry stalwarts to make an inroad in the overseas market. At present India is exporting Surgical/Absorbent cotton, dressing materials and pads to many countries though it’s still insignificant. However, with the concerted efforts of Technology Excellence Centers, manufacturers, BIS and Administrative authority, we can make it happen shortly to give a boost to the sector.

Industry at Glance –Global vis. a vis. India.

Medical textile industry is still dominated by few countries of developed world. At present Global market is mostly shared by USA, Germany, UK, China and South Korea etc. Asian countries excluding China are yet to mark their presence visible though India has a sizeable contribution in the area of Absorbent cotton, Surgical dressings and bandages. As these items are low value added hence; it’s contribution remains insignificant in terms of revenue. It is reported that India is highly dependent on imported items in most of the products till now and 80% of medical devices are imported for uses in absence of requisite manufacturing facilities. Medical textiles encompass a wide range of product. The detail information is placed below:

Table 1

As per information available, there are estimated few hundred units engaged in manufacturing of medical textiles but there is no specific statistics & data available now. The industries are mostly in MSME sector and widely scattered in nature. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the important hubs of medical textiles. Medical textile units are also established in Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan. There are few units in operation in eastern states like West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. West Bengal was once a leader in manufacturing Absorbent Cotton and surgical dressing till ‘90s but slowly got shifted to other states. At present only a few units are engaged in manufacturing and exports of such products. Rajkot in Gujarat became a new hub of manufacturing a wide range of Masks with different price tag during the pandemic. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are manufacturing a wide variety of health care products. It is felt that there is a growing consciousness among people due to the pandemic and with the passage of time more no. of industries are expected to come up to meet the growing requirements of wellness centers, Beauty Parlour, Gym& hotels etc. for a safe living. The trend is expected to continue now.

Global Market scenario:

Global market of medical textiles got developed stably, with an average growth rate of 8% in last several years and the global production of medical textiles reached 3258 K MT in 2015.With the introduction of developed manufacturing technology and low labor cost, China became the leading player, with the production market share over 32%, Europe accounted for over 34% of market size in global market in 2015. The market had got developed in Europe due to the mature healthcare sector, growing consumer demand for improved healthcare facilities. North America is the second largest regional segment accounting for over 29% of the global market volume in 2015. Meanwhile, China and other Asia regions demand is projected to witness a high growth rate of over 10% due to increasing penetration of disposable baby diapers and feminine hygiene products. Non-woven textile dominated the global medical textiles market, accounting for over 57% of global volume in 2015. This segment is projected to gain market share over the forecast period, due to high performance characteristics such as easy disposability, cost-effectiveness and reduced danger of cross-contamination. Healthcare and hygiene products and non-implantable goods application segments together accounted for a share of nearly 60% in 2015. Healthcare and hygiene products are rapidly gaining popularity in the developing regions including Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East due to rising healthcare infrastructure. Market research study revealed that North America was accounted the largest revenue share of 32.82% of overall medical textile industry, Europe constituted the second largest market share of Global market and Asia Pacific was the third largest region with 27.08% market share in 2018. Implantable goods were the largest application segment; accounting for 33.20% of Global revenue and Non implantable goods was accounted for a share of 32.24% of global revenue. It is reported that the Global medical textile market was valued at US$17.5bn in 2019, estimated to reach US$ 20.33Bn in 2022 and it is projected to reach US$ 23.76bn at a CAGR of around 5% by 2025. USA may witness a growth rate of 5.3% in next couple of years. The medical textile market of Germany was valued US$1,852.1Mn in 2019 and is projected to grow significantly in next couple of years. China’s market is anticipated to reach US$1,547.4Mn. by 2025. The market size of India’s Medical textile was $600Mn in 2014 of which surgical dressings and surgical sutures alone accounted for about more than 50% at a value of US$380Mn The was estimated at a value of US$780Mn. In 2017 and is expected to reach US$ 1000Mn in 2020.  India has a share of medical textile among technical textile is around 6% though our consumption pattern indicates a rising trend over the years and the gap is bridged by import. India’s market share in Global market is around 2-3%. India is exporting and importing various products to other countries. At present India is importing medical textiles from various countries like USA, China, Germany, South Korea Japan and Norway etc. India is also exporting various products to US and a few EU countries including Asian countries. The information is given in tables below:

E*-Expected P-projected E-Estimated
Source- Compiled from various reports from 2018-2020

Source- Medical Textile Market Size,Share,Trend Anaylis,2019-25

Source- DGCIS & EXIM Bank research working paper published in Dec'18

Source- DGCIS & EXIM Bank research working paper published in Dec'18

The New Vistas:

It is expected that there will be huge surge in consumption of medical textiles in the coming years due to an attack of COVID Virus world wise. The pandemic has affected around 199 countries of the world and medical facility was on near collapsed in many countries and there was an acute shortage of various medical consumables & protective clothing. Besides, there is a renewed thought to equip the medical facilities establishment and wellness centers with full protection to save the life of healthcare professionals and Doctors. Hotels, Restaurants, Beauty Parlour and Gym etc. made a new beginning of health care measures after the pandemic. With the rising population& more life expectancy and improved living style etc. are also fuelling the demand of such specialized textile items. Besides, burgeoning health concerns necessitating the criticality of awareness for better healthcare practices coupled with rising disposable income are expected to augment the demand of medical textiles in this decade. Non woven fabric segment will experience a big surge in medical textiles as it is easy to dispose and light in weight& comfortable to wear at working place. It is reported that U.S. medical textiles industry revenue is projected to grow at a rate of 5.3% over the forecast period. The rising concern regarding chronic diseases and aging population has led to increased demand for non-implantable goods in the country, which is driving the market. Germany medical textiles market was valued for USD 1,852.1 million in 2018 and is projected to grow significantly over the forecast period. Germany is an important leader in foreign trade of medical textiles. China market is anticipated to reach USD 1,547.4 million by 2025. India is a traditional exporter of consumables like Absorbent Cotton, Dressings and bands etc. A few entrepreneurs in Southern states had initiated a big attempt to manufacture hygienic products to meet the rising demand in domestic market. It is estimated that there will be a rise in demand of 5-20% for various items in next couple of years.

Table 6- Growth Trajectory of Medical Textiles in India (Source:

Technology is indigenously available for many products. With the severe impact of this pandemic, now hospitals & laboratories will be upgraded to comply with norms & standards in the areas of safety & hygiene thus demand will surge. India has good base of non woven & knitted textiles and the fabrics are used in the myriad application of various consumable & disposable items that has a big share in medical textiles and creates ample opportunity to start manufacturing such items to bridge the demand supply gap both in domestic and overseas market. Recently, Hon’ble Textile Minister also emphasized on building capacity and urged the industrialists to tap the potential that arises at this juncture as market size may experience a big surge in next couple of years.


Medical textiles is still in incipient stage in India despite there is a huge market potential. India’s market appears in high growth trajectory as demand of hygienic products and consumables depicts a big rise in next couple of years. Manufacturing capacity & capability of knitted and non woven fabrics have substantially improved in last two decades and that can facilitate to set up medical textile industries in India. Govt. is also encouraging the professionals to set up industries. Technical knowledge and skill both are the prerequisites of manufacturing of such products. Centers of Excellence at various academic institutions and Textile research centers are made well equipped now to provide technical support & knowledge on product development & innovation. That will pave the way for the both & new generation entrepreneurs to meet rapid rise in consumption of medical textiles both in domestic and overseas market, once the upcoming opportunities are fully tapped.

Author’s profile:-



Industry & Management Expert.

  • BSc. Tech(Textile) Calcutta University, M. Text (Engg.) M.S. University, Vadodara. System Management (JBIMS Bombay).  Chartered Engineer,  Qualified ISO Lead Assessor.
  • Fellow of Institution of Engineers India. Recipient of prestigious Er. Sadanand Memorial Award
  • Served more than four decades in Industry, Research Institutes and Ministry of MSME and NITI AYOG Govt. of India etc. A retired Senior official of Govt. of India, engaged in Industry planning & promotion, establishing Linkage among Industry & Academic and Professional institutions etc. Attached with various professional and academic institutions at various capacities for 35years.Made a significant contribution in industry promotion, product innovation, Skill development and adoption & practice on modern management tools in MSMEs etc.


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