The industry

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The textile business is one of the largest and most diverse in the world as there is around 8 billion people that need clothes and each one of us has a different preference. However, the textile business is also one of the largest pollutants in the world. Actually, it is the second largest one after the oil industry. Water is becoming more precious than gold or oil, because without clean water, we will all die very soon. Only 0.3% all water in the world is currently accessible to us. But it seems the humans treat it as if it were an unlimited source.

Some facts:

20% of all world’s water is nowadays polluted by the textile industry alone. Some pollution is permanent and life-threatening. It consumes trillions of liters every year and the electric energy consumes along the way could power several countries for a whole year – statistically 12% of all homes in the US could be powered each year! The greenhouse gases produced are equivalent to 94 million cars producing gases. At this stage, Asian workforce is being exploited in unhuman conditions but with a shift to digital printing, we believe, textile production is moving back to Europe as the advantages of digital printing will eventually outweigh the low labor cost in Asia.


These days, digital printing is rather untapped as it comprises only 3% of the whole textile printing segment with 1.9 billion square meters printed annually. So, the remaining 97% of the market is our opportunity as the shift to digital printing in inevitable. An exponential growth is expected over the next years and it is already underway as we see when meeting people from the field. Consumers are more and more eco-aware and producers are reflecting on this. To make profit in non-digital printing, a producer needs to produce thousands of units to utilize economies of scale, but with digital printing we refer to on-demand printing whereby a producer could print a few T-shirts from a digital file and quickly move on to the next item. High-graphic printed apparel is in high demand mostly due to millennials. Two thirds of digital printing are made up of roll-to-roll production which is our focus. The major factors driving the growth of the digital textile printing industry include the growing demand for sustainable printing; increasing demand for digital textile printing in the garment and advertising industries; shortening lifespan and faster adaptability of fashion designs; development of new technologies in the textile industry; reduced per unit cost of printing with digital printers, and growth of the e-commerce industry.


The digital printing is still vastly underestimated, so this represents a huge opportunity as ink and machine prices decrease, with print speeds and quality increasing at an astonishing rate. These factors account for the growth potential which predicts a diverse future for the industry. The reason for this diversity is relatively simple, in that, the Market Penetration of each of the five sectors varies according to the amount that Digital Printing has been successful in each sector:

  • sportswear
  • home décor
  • contract décor
  • events
  • fashion

The textile printing industry is at the threshold of a revolution characterized by rapidly changing trends, technology breakthroughs, and expansion of applications through the advancement of materials. We could compare this when a touch-screen smartphone, the Internet or the hybrid cars where first introduced. At first they were not trusted but later they became widely adopted.

The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels.


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