Demand for disposable medical supplies in the United States is forecast to rise 3.6% annually to $74.3 billion in 2026. The need for stringent infection prevention safeguards during surgery, patient examinations, and other direct contact healthcare procedures will continue to promote the use of disposable products over reusables whenever practical and cost-effective.
The COVID-19 pandemic altered the US market for surgical disposables and single-use personal protective equipment (i.e., masks, isolation gowns, and examination gloves) in 2020 and early 2021:
Over the next several years, surgical disposables and single-use personal protective equipment are expected to return to pre-pandemic demand patterns, spurred by a steady decline in the incidence of severe COVID-19 cases and number of related hospitalizations, as well as a steady increase in the routine and emergency surgeries.
While disposable medical supplies will continue to be used often in various applications thanks to their enhanced infection protection, cost considerations are leading some healthcare settings to shift to reusable medical supplies. This trend is projected to weaken growth opportunities for such disposables as prefillable inhalers, nebulizers, humidifiers, and patient and surgical gowns. Sustainability is also a consideration in the substitution of reusables for disposables in several applications.
Nonwoven medical disposables experienced significant growth in 2020 and 2021, as COVID-19 protocols encouraged the use of disposable nonwoven garments and textiles, especially masks. While demand for disposable nonwoven garments and textiles will decline slightly from their high 2021 base as the pandemic wanes, infection prevention considerations will continue to sustain demand for these products. Growth for nonwoven medical disposables will be driven by incontinence nonwovens as the patient base for these products expands and the preference for higher value-added products increases.