Demand Surges for Disposable Gloves, Face Masks, Disinfectant as COVID-19 Elevates PPE Needs

Demand Surges for Disposable Gloves, Face Masks, Disinfectant as COVID-19 Elevates PPE Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a surge in demand for disposable gloves, face masks, disinfectant, and other items that medical professionals – and, increasingly, consumers – are using as personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the virus’ spread. At the same time, the pandemic is also causing major disruptions in global supply chains. For example, in Malaysia – the world’s leading supplier of disposable gloves – the government required producers to significantly cut capacity even as orders from around the world poured in. Coupled with panic buying, reduced output and slowdowns in trade are contributing to PPE shortages in many countries, leading government agencies such as the CDC to issue guidance on optimizing supply.

In a new series of studies, The Freedonia Group provides in-depth analysis of the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand for disposable gloves, face masks, and disinfectant. Below are some of the highlights.

Global Disposable Glove Demand to Increase Nearly 13% in 2020

Global demand for disposable medical gloves amid the COVID-19 pandemic has far surpassed the levels seen during the SARS and H1N1 epidemics of years past, with 12.5% growth projected for 2020. In some countries, monthly demand more than doubled as virus-related hospitalizations skyrocketed. Factors driving the surge include a sharp increase in the number of gloves used per healthcare worker – especially outside of hospitals – and increased use of medical gloves by non-medical personnel to control the virus’ spread.

The best opportunities for disposable glove suppliers are expected primarily in the first half of the year, with demand falling off sharply in the second half as new COVID-19 cases dwindle to manageable levels.

In Most Regions, Face Mask & Respirator Demand Levels At Least Three Times Higher Than Usual

Global demand for disposable masks and respirators is expected to spike 170% in 2020 as countries around the globe work to protect their populations, especially healthcare workers, from contracting COVID-19. Demand in most regions is estimated to be at least three times higher than normal levels due to the important role masks play in preventing the spread of the virus.

  • Growth will be strongest in consumer and healthcare applications due to concerted efforts to control virus spread from person to person.
  • Mask sales will see triple-digit gains in some commercial markets as businesses increase their mask use per employee from the usual negligible levels.
  • Sales in manufacturing and construction markets will be mixed in 2020, as early in the year supply is diverted to healthcare uses and business activity falls significantly. Later in the year, growth in industrial masks usage will return, especially as companies increase mask use per employee so that they can safely return to operations.

Opportunities for Disinfectant Limited by Closure of “Non-Essential” Businesses

Global demand for industrial and institutional (I&I) disinfectants and sanitizers is expected to decrease less than 1.0% in 2020 as countries around the globe respond to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which will have varying effects on the markets for these products. Despite demand spikes among healthcare facilities and businesses deemed “essential” to operate under government lockdown orders, advances will be restrained by the closure of foodservice and other “non-essential” businesses where disinfectants and sanitizers are used intensively even when there isn’t a pandemic.

Nevertheless, steeper losses will be prevented by the introduction of stricter disinfection and cleaning regulations for those facilities that do remain open, including:

  • instituting new cleaning regimens to disinfect exposed surfaces
  • increasing cleaning frequency
  • providing hand sanitizer dispensing stations

Looking for More?

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For the latest comments from analysts about COVID-19 impacts visit our regularly updated COVID-19 Economic Impact Tracker.

About the Author:

Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on an array of industries.

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