The COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense pressure on the production and supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Disposable gloves have seen increased use in the medical and food industries due to heightened infection control measures. Additionally, industries like industrial, retail, and logistics have adopted gloves to protect their staff from contracting the virus.
Supply and Demand Challenges Leading to Price Increases:
The demand for nitrile disposable gloves surged by 45% since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in a significant shortfall of 214 billion gloves globally. The limited supply compared to the exploding demand has led to substantial price increases. As per estimates by US-based Allied Market Research, the global disposable gloves market, valued at $6.8 billion in 2019, is projected to nearly triple to $18.8 billion by 2027. This surge in demand has resulted in glove manufacturers reporting record profits, driven by increased production, higher volumes, and significantly elevated average selling prices.
Production Costs & Capacity Challenges:
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the soaring glove demand, leading to production capacity limitations. The pandemic's health and social restrictions have caused a shortage of workers in glove manufacturing, raising production costs. Factories must implement COVID-19 testing to prevent virus spread, and lockdown measures have affected the production process in some cases. Additionally, there are reports of constraints in nitrile glove capacity due to a shortage of essential glove moulds required for production.
China's Rise & Malaysia's Challenges in Nitrile Glove Manufacturing:
Before the pandemic, Malaysia held the lead in nitrile glove manufacturing. However, China's significant investments in glove production, aggressive pricing, and government incentives have allowed it to capture more market share. Moreover, import bans by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on major Malaysian manufacturers, due to forced labor violations, have facilitated China's expansion.
Raw Materials Shortage and Its Impact:
The global shortage of nitrile gloves is predicted to continue until at least the first half of 2022 due to insufficient raw materials. Factories supplying the raw materials are struggling to meet the current demand, leading to production cost increases. Building new factories to handle the demand for nitrile rubber can take up to 18 months, further exacerbating the shortage. The lack of raw materials has been cited as a significant reason behind the increased production cost, according to the world's largest producer of rubber gloves.
Challenges with Third-Party Dealers and Hedge Fund Investments:
The pandemic has brought about an issue of counterfeit & reject quality gloves flooding the market, thanks to traders and brokers seeking to profit from the PPE demand. Some factories have offloaded rejected stock through third-party dealers without required export paperwork. Additionally, hedge fund investments in glove purchasing deals have further driven up glove costs.
Ensuring Quality and Safety Amid Rising Costs:
Throughout 2020, nitrile glove users have witnessed a dramatic increase in costs due to various factors. As prices are expected to continue increasing, users, especially in medical and food industries, must be cautious about the quality and safety of the gloves they purchase. To ensure safety, always inquire about the quality standards of the products, preferably review product samples, and purchase from reputable suppliers, not dealers.
Stability in Nitrile Glove Prices and Partnering with Eagle Protect™:
Despite the challenges, nitrile glove prices are projected to stabilise in 2023, with fluctuations based on raw material prices and manufacturing competitiveness.
Eagle Protects unique standard ensures our gloves and clothing meet consistently high quality specifications and are manufactured sustainably and ethically via our transparent supply chain, at competitive market prices.
Our commitment to safeguarding your staff, products, and brand reputation is unwavering. Trust in our Certified B Corporation® status, demonstrating our dedication to product standards and quality, even amidst the pressures of the pandemic.
Talk to our experts today and find the most suitable PPE for your business needs.