Stressors for the Global Textile Industry | Latest Textile Update | The Path forward

Stressors for the Global Textile Industry

By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USAh

(Atlanta, USA, July 20, 2023)—Low demand and overcapacity are putting stress on the global textile sector.

Rebalancing the supply and demand situation, moving towards sustainability, and handling regulations are some of the key themes that were discussed recently in the 3-day World of Wipes conference in Atlanta, USA.

COVID-19 forced spunmelt nonwovens and medical textiles industry to increase their capacity and build up production. In the two-year period during COVID-19 meltblown production doubled as well as spunlace products. Demand for single-use medical textiles dwindled resulting in an overstock situation.

While inflation is expected to have a soft landing, global demand for textiles is moderate to low. In India, the textile industry is forced to reduce its production. About 20% of knitted and garment sectors in Tiruppur and Noida have stopped production. In the State of Tamilnadu which is the number one state in producing cotton yarns, spinning mills are facing a dire situation and are pleading with the Central and State governments for temporary relief.

“There will be overcapacity of wipes for the next three years,” stated Rahul Bansal, Global Head-Nonwovens, Mumbai-based Birla Cellulose.

Inventory has to be repurposed and new markets have to be explored. Citing Birla Cellulose’s efforts in creating new partnerships across the supply chain, Bansal emphasized the importance of collaboration. In April 2023, Birla Cellulose and Sparkle announced a partnership to develop viscose-based diaper products. “Co-creation is the way forward,” stated Rahul Bansal.

While collective representation to governments as undertaken by Coimbatore-based The Southern India Mills’ Association is the need of the hour, the industry has to strategize in terms of sustainable products, future market prospects, and competitive advantage opportunities. Trade associations in developed nations such as the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry-INDA and Brussels-based EDANA have work cut out to work with the governments on behalf of the industry with regard to the Single Use Plastic Directive, flushability issues, and other chemical regulations.

Productivity enhancement at the farm level in terms of cotton production in India, exploring new products that are sustainable, and delivering products to consumers at affordable prices are important areas that need attention.

Collaboration with all segments of the industry and effective communication with consumers is the need of the hour. 


Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, PhD, CText, FTI (UK), FTA [Honorary] (India), TAPPI Fellow (USA)

Professor, Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA


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