A long-term opportunity

1 December 2011

The continuing uncertainties in the European economies bring prospects in the wider world market into sharper focus.

Opportunities for growth in any industry are divided between those that can be realised in the short- to medium-term and those that are much more complex but offer promise for companies prepared to work and invest in long-term development. The textile care industries are no exception.

For some time now, equipment manufacturers have been talking about the developing prospects in the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

This month LCNi’s country spotlight series takes a look at the Indian market, described as one of the fastest growing economies in the past decade.

The outlook for textile care is positive and Kathleen Armstrong’s researches certainly show that this market has developed greatly since LCNi last looked at the subject around five years ago.

Still, patience would seem to be the keyword with regard to developing a substantial international standard textile care sector that will boost sales for western suppliers.

Business and leisure tourism continue to be among the main areas for establishing a textile care sector and American and European suppliers are steadily making inroads.

A growing Indian middle class is also helping to boost demand for laundry and drycleaning services.

But the Indian textile care sector still lacks a more formal structure that might help to establish a substantial market.

Both consumer and commercial services are still dependent on local provision, which is often hotel-based.

The central services that might help to provide the basis of a high quality national market are still rare although there is a belief that they will come eventually.

Across much of the country, laundry and drycleaning, services, often operate in a traditional local, low-tech manner.

The environmental influences that have done much to trigger development in the western world are being seen but the regulation that pushes them to the fore is still lacking.

The changes in infrastructure, in regulation and in the way in which society operates that would help this market to develop and mature are still to come. It will necessarily be a matter of gradual evolution.

The market has come a long way in the past decade and though the outlook is positive, the true potential remains a long way in the future. This is an opportunity.

Janet Taylor - jtaylor@laundryandcleaningnews.com

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