Fibers are the materials which have discretely elongated pieces and can be spun into threads and filaments. Fibers are classified into natural, synthetic and man-made. Natural fibers consist of animal and plant fibers market. Animal fibers consist of protein chains such as wool, silk, fur, hair and feathers among others. Plant fibers consist of field crops such as cotton, jute and linen among others. Animal and plant fibers are used in various end-user industries such as textiles, paper processing and composite materials. Wool is the most commonly used animal fiber. The fiber is springy and curly. The cloth manufactured is used in textile industry for manufacturing of shawls, woolen clothes, carpets and many other textiles products. Silk is another common animal fiber which is made from spinning of cocoon of silkworm. Cotton is the most widely used plant fiber and is used in manufacturing of various types of clothes. Linen is another plant fiber which finds applications in towels, napkins and handkerchiefs, while jute and hemp are used to make carpets and rope sacks.
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The market for animal and plant fibers was mainly driven by end-user industries such as textiles and paper processing. In textiles, animal and plant fibers are used in making luxury clothes, carpets, decorations, laces, tents, sails, bagging, sacks, floor coverings and commercial fabrics among others. In paper processing, plant fibers are combined with the wood pulp in manufacturing of all kinds of paper and cardboards. In composite industry, animal and plant fibers are used as reinforcement materials in plastics and wallboards. Animal and plant fibers are also used as stuffing material in mattresses and upholstery. In packaging industry, plant fibers are used bags and vessels made-up of jute and hemp. Animal and plant fibers are also used in manufacturing of paint brushes and braided articles such as hats, baskets and mats. In boating industry, animal and plant fibers are used in manufacturing of small boats such as canoe, where they offer more durability than steel and bamboo boats. In spite of so many applications in various end-user industries, greater extent of animal and plant fibers in the market are being replaced by synthetic fibers thus acting as potential threat to the market.
In terms of demand, Asia Pacific was the leading region in animal and plant fibers market in 2013. Asia Pacific is also expected to be growing at the fastest rate. The demand is huge in this region due to huge textile and paper processing industry. China had the highest demand for animal and plant fibers in Asia Pacific. India had the second largest market for animal and plants fiber market in this region. Other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Japan and Korea are likely to provide better opportunities for animal and plant fibers market in foreseeable future. Asia Pacific was followed by North America. Increasing demand from paper processing, textiles and luxury clothing is driving the demand for animal fibers in this region. U.S. had the largest demand for animal and plant fibers. In 2013, Europe had the third largest demand for animal and plant fibers market in 2013. Western Europe is anticipated to be the fastest growing market for animal and plant fibers in this region. Huge demand for luxury clothing has been driving the market in past few years. Other region such as Russia, Nordic countries and Central Europe is likely to offer greater opportunities in future. Rest of the World market is anticipated to show positive outlook for the animal and plant fibers market in near future. Latin America is expected to show greater potential for the market over the forecast period.
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Some of the key manufacturers in the animal and plant fibers market are Bast Fibers LLC, S.L. Bally Ribbon Mills, Natural Fibre Products Inc. and Wacker Chemie AG among others.