The global waterproof breathable textiles market is expected to record a CAGR of around 6% from 2019-2024, according to a recent market study by Mordor Intelligence. Major factors driving the market include an increasing preference toward high-performance and comfortable fabrics, growing fitness awareness, and increasing use of recycled PET bottles to manufacture waterproof breathable fabrics.

By textile type, the membrane segment is expected to dominate the global market and witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period because of its excellent mechanical properties and water resistance. Membranes are extremely thin films made from polymers and engineered in such a way that they are highly resistant to water penetration, yet allow the passage of water vapor. A membrane is only about 10 mm thick and is laminated to a conventional fabric to provide the essential mechanical strength.

Microporous membranes are thin films of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) polymer that contains about 1.4 billion holes per sq cm. The hydrophobic nature of the polymer and small pore size requires high pressures to cause water penetration. Hydrophilic membranes (sometimes known as non-poromeric) are very thin films of chemically modified polyester or polyurethane containing no holes. Water vapor from perspiration is able to diffuse through this type of membrane in relatively large quantities.

Europe is one of the major markets for membrane-based waterproof textiles due to large numbers of climbers and walkers, many of whom require performance garments to protect them from extreme elements. The Asia-Pacific region is projected to register the highest growth rate over the forecast period. China is the world’s leading textile exporter, accounting for 40% of global textile and clothing exports. The textile and clothing industry is the largest manufacturing industry in China, with approximately 24,000 enterprises. China is the largest clothing producer in the world and has the most production capacity for textile products consisting of cotton, manmade fibers, and silk.

The waterproof breathable textiles market in China is expected to witness rapid growth as a result of increasing demand from the footwear and garment industry. The market in China is primarily driven by growing consumer demand for fitness-related sports products due to increasing health awareness. This has resulted in increasing sportswear manufacturing activities in China.

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