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August 4, 2021

Smart Clothing: Regulatory Trends

Despite investment from major brands like Google, Levi’s, and Under Armour, smart clothing has grown relatively slowly in recent years.

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Lack of awareness among consumers is one reason for its limited adoption, along with high prices and concerns over durability, data accuracy, and privacy.

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Regulatory Trends

Listed below are the key regulatory trends impacting the smart clothing theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Standardisation

Apparel is a heavily scrutinised industry. The quality of textile products is evaluated multiple times at different stages of the production process. Quality assessment typically considers the materials, systems, and services involved in the manufacturing of clothing. To operate effectively, smart clothing makers must comply with quality and trade mandates across various countries, including the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) in the US and the European Union’s (EU) General Product Safety Directive.

Two apparel industry veterans have established a non-profit organisation called the Smart Textile Alliance, which aims to develop industry standards for smart clothing. This development should aid start-ups to navigate the regulatory nuances of various geographic markets.

Data privacy

Smart clothes generate vast amounts of user data, including location, health metrics, and app activity, which is gathered by sensors embedded in the garments. Smart clothing vendors store this data on cloud servers. However, vendors, their affiliates, and advertisers could potentially misuse the server-stored data. Data privacy legislation such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) aim to restrict vendors’ ability to sell data for profit without the user’s consent.

Regulations mandate that smart clothing vendors have transparent privacy policies stipulating the purpose and use of user-generated data. They must also give users the ability to request, access, and suspend their data from privacy centres. Adopting an extraterritorial approach, GDPR and APPI have forced vendors to process locally any data generated within the EU and Japan, respectively, regardless of where vendors are headquartered. We expect these policies to be further refined as consumer adoption of smart clothing increases.

This is an edited extract from the Smart Clothing (Wearable Tech) – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

Free Report
img

What are the key consumer trends driving FMCG in 2022?

The consumer landscape has permanently changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, prompting trends to emerge or accelerate, causing subsequent macro-economic shifts. In order to stay relevant, Consumer Packaged Goods companies must stay abreast of these developments. It is here that GlobalData can offer valuable assistance. Download GlobalData’s Trendsights: Trends to Watch in 2022 report to:
  • Gain insight into the 12 most important trends across the FMCG value chain
  • See the consumer survey data that underpins these insights
  • Learn what early-movers are already doing in terms of NPD and product marketing
Take a look at this report to give yourself the best standing in this developing market.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.