ORLANDO (ICIS)--Increased demand for elastic thread and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is stemming from younger consumer trends geared for more comfortable clothing, an associate with Lubrizol said on Wednesday.
“The funny thing is, I’ll tell you, the younger population starts the trend and the older population catches on,” Lubrizol sports and recreation marketing manager Kenneth Kim said on the sidelines of this year's National Plastics Exposition (NPE).
The movement for athletic wear to be fashionable as leisure wear began around a decade ago with the millennial generation, Kim said, partially because the younger generation is fixated on sports.
Kim noted that for decades shoe cushions were typically made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).
“Now the market realised they want to go one step above in terms of comfort and durability,” he said. “The market opened its eyes to TPU.”
Though TPU soles end up giving the shoes a higher price, it is valued more overall due to higher performance, Kim said.
“TPU also has energy return,” he said, noting that about 60% is returned in use. “If you’re a runner, energy return is very important.”
The trend is not restricted to footwear, he added.
“They are a more socially attentive generation," he said. “They want to own less, share more, but they want to experience more, and show what they share on social networks. All that combines into a larger consumer group.”
However, the comfort factor led to older generations picking up. Though the younger generation will grab on to trends and popularise them, he noted the older generation normally catches up, and has more purchasing power.
“For example, Victoria Secret. Looking at their models, everybody thinks the biggest customers are women in their twenties and early thirties,” he said. “No, their selling point is 45 [years old] and above.”
Sponsored by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), NPE2018: The Plastics Show takes place on 7-11 May in Orlando, Florida.
Interview article by David Haydon