With increasing population and subsequently food demand, the arable land is limited and this will result into food crisis. Naturally, the demand for textile fibres will also increase. But in future, cotton production will be stagnant because of the limited availability of arable land.

Regenerated cellulose fibers are not new to the world of textile fibers but they are probably the most misunderstood of all fibres. It is not a natural fibre, yet it is not synthetic. It is a fibre formed by regenerating materials of natural origin into a usable form and hence regenerated cellulosic fibre.

Viscose is an ideal substitute for cotton because of their physiological advantages when viewed in comparison to synthetic fibers. The physiological performance of cellulose fibres - cotton or man-made - is unmatched by any other man-made fibre.

They are hydrophilic and stand for absorbency and breathability. These inherent physiological fibre properties are ideal for moisture management. This function ensures an adequate temperature balance on the skin, especially where textiles touch the skin.

Compared to natural fibres, viscose fibres can be modified in its thickness and other properties like length. Viscose fibre however, in combination with its ability of moisture absorbance and fine fineness offer the best wearing comfort of all fibres. Also, these fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colours.

Different to petroleum-based synthetic fibres (polyester etc) viscose fibres are ideal in all fields of application; whether in the textile or garment industry for woven and knitted fabrics or in nonwovens & industrial products.


Regenerated cellulose fibres are extremely sustainable fibres. These high-purity cellulose fibres are obtained from sustainably managed forests.

Compared with cotton, wood has the advantages of low water consumption, reduced pesticide use and produces up to 10 times the amount of cellulose per hectare and these fibres are 100% biodegradable. In comparison to cotton, regenerated cellulose fibers they have some important assets:

  • No arable land is necessary,
  • Less water consumption,
  • No input of pesticides and fertilizers.

Global Viscose Scenario:

An increase in world population and global GDP, growing fiber demand per capita and the stagnation or reduction of arable land for cotton growing are all factors that will affect the ability of cotton to meet the global requirements.

The demand for viscose has increased by CAGR of 11% in the last five years (2008-12). Thus, the viscose fibre business has annual average growth rates exceeding many other fibres including polyester staple.

Global fibre demand is expected to grow at 4-5% in 2013, similar to the last 5 year CAGR of 3%. However, VSF demand is expected to grow faster at close to 7%. This will be due to higher expected demand in China on account of higher cotton prices in China which make VSF an economical alternative.

In the rest of the world, the growth is expected to be around 5% due to a slight shift from cotton and polyester due to the superior properties of VSF and a consumer preference for more fashionable and comfortable garments. Sustainability advantage of VSF over cotton/polyester will also spur this growth. Major consuming market will continue to be China with more than 55% of global consumption. Other major markets will be Indonesia, Turkey and India.

Indian Context:

Indian textile industry is predominantly cotton-based. However, with limited supply of cotton and price advantage, the share of synthetic fibres like polyester is gradually rising. Going forward, viscose fibre consumption will increase as consumers are moving towards more fashionable garments like the western world where viscose fibre has its clear advantage.

The domestic fibre consumption ratio in India at present is around 30:70 between man-made fibres and natural fibers (predominantly cotton); while it is reverse globally i.e. around 70:30.

Going forward, synthetic fibre consumption will pick up gradually with increase in demand for apparels, home textiles and technical textiles. Demand for synthetic fibre will increase for apparel segment with new product innovation in synthetic fibre. In other segments, synthetic fibres have a clear advantage from application point of view.

Growth in apparels and home textile segments will be supported by factors like rise in disposable income, growing consumer class, rising urbanisation and increasing retail penetration. All these factors will increase the share of synthetics mainly polyester and viscose in the next few years.

India cotton prices have witnessed consistent rise in recent months & touched almost two years high currently. Prices went up due to shortage of cotton & consistent demand from spinning mills on account of higher cotton yarn demand from China where cotton prices are ruling firm due to government policy making the spinners uncompetitive.

Demand for manmade fibres will increase both from domestic front and exports of manmade fibre-based clothing but a lot of support is required from the government on rationalising duty structure making it competitive with cotton in domestic front and major synthetic based textile producing countries.

Image Courtesy:

1.      thebestofeverythingforyou.blogspot.com

Gaurav Agarwal works in Fibre Marketing Divison, at Grasim Industries Ltd., Vadodara, Gujarat.