The cotton industry can no longer rest on its laurels as a natural fiber if it is to avoid falling further behind the man-made fiber industry. In a fast-moving world the cotton industry needs to find new ways to match synthetic fibers. In terms of market share, cotton is now less than one-third of total textiles, while 20 years ago cotton was at 48 per cent of the total textile demand.
The cotton industry moves relatively slower than the man-made fiber industry. Man-made fiber industries, by virtue of the fact they are produced in a factory, are committed to innovation and technology and are also very customer-centric. Customers are at the centre of their planning and development systems. While the cotton industry is constrained by a plethora of institutions, the man-made fiber sector is not as institution-heavy.
Man-made fibers offer flexibility. They offer stretch, which is what consumers have come to expect from their clothing. Man-made fabrics are now very breathable and pleasant to wear. Synthetics have several advantages over their natural rival: without the threat of weather or disease, quality and supplies are more consistent, prices are more stable and technology has cut costs and increased efficiency.