by Corinne Gangloff
February 11, 2020
The 2019 novel coronavirus is driving a surge in demand for disposable medical supplies in China, where the market totaled $27.2 billion in 2017, according to a Freedonia Group analysis. In particular, Chinese government officials have called on suppliers from a range of industries – including the auto and energy sectors – to focus on meeting the abrupt demand spike for face masks. The nonwovens-based item is seeing near-universal use throughout China’s mega cities.
As the number of reported coronavirus cases continues to rise at alarming rates in mainland China, domestic nonwovens producers – which collectively accounted for 43% of global output in 2017 – are ramping up production to meet elevated demand for masks, protective suits, and other nonwovens-intensive disposable medical supplies that can be used to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Chinese demand for nonwovens used for medical/surgical products is forecast to grow at one of the fastest rates of any application through 2023. China became the largest nonwovens market in the world over the last decade as part of a broader trend of extremely rapid expansion throughout the country’s economy:
Travel restrictions, quarantines, and other measures are likely to limit the impact of coronavirus in other countries. However, perceptions of increased public health risk could lead to greater demand for nonwovens materials and the face masks, hospital gowns, protective apparel, and other items made from nonwovens outside of China.
Sales will be particularly strong in the Asia/Pacific region where the threat is higher, but also worldwide to some extent given the prolific international media coverage of the outbreak and that global suppliers ship protective apparel and other medical disposables into China as well.
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