Apparel Industry has Opportunity to Boost Awareness of Smart Fabrics, Reports NPD

Port Washington, NY, May 7, 2015 – Consumer awareness of smart fabric technology available in today’s apparel offerings is still low, according to global information company, The NPD Group. However, there is interest in smart fabrics that spans generations of both men and women, and an opportunity to educate that may drive future sales.

Less than half of consumers are aware of most smart fabrics, including those that have been available in the marketplace for several years. For some smart fabrics, including cooling and heat-modifying fabrics, interest is higher than awareness.

“Smart fabrics are an important and innovative development for the fashion industry, but consumers don’t know enough about them to fully embrace them,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “The industry needs to educate the consumer, emphasizing the technology and performance behind smart fabrics, and touting the benefits for real-life use.”

Awareness of smart fabrics, with few exceptions, tends to be stronger among women and older age segments. But despite stronger awareness among women, slightly more men have actually purchased apparel with smart fabric benefits. Stretch fabrics are the only exception, with more than double the number of women purchasing apparel with this technology.

When asked what types of apparel with smart fabric benefits would interest them most, consumers put workout clothing/activewear at the top of the list, driven by consumers age 18-34. Jeans and underwear follow activewear at the top of the list, driven by consumers age 45 and older. One thing consistent among all age groups is the interest in cotton material offering smart fabric benefits.


Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / March 2015 Omnibus

Findings presented are based on a survey of 1,000 respondents from The NPD Group’s online consumer panel.  U.S. adults, 18 years or older, participated in the study, which fielded between March 16, and March 22, 2015.  Results are weighted to US census.

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Janine Marshall

The NPD Group, Inc.
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Port Washington, NY 11050

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