Global disposable gloves market booms


Thriving healthcare market in southeast Asia is boosting demand for disposable gloves while nitrile gains market share

The frenetic pace of economic growth in Asia-Pacific combined with a thriving healthcare sector, particularly in southeast Asian countries, has provided a major boost to demand for disposable gloves.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, 'Analysis of the Asia-Pacific Disposable Gloves Market', finds that the market earned revenues of more than US$309.8m in 2013 and estimates this to reach $435.7m in 2018. Australia and Indonesia are the two key revenue contributors. The study covers the product segments of surgical and examination gloves, industrial gloves, automotive gloves, critical environment gloves, food industry gloves and retail gloves.

Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have emerged as medical tourism hubs and this growth, along with the large population in these countries, has augmented the demand for medical disposable gloves, which constitute at least 50% of the total number of disposable gloves sold globally.

'Being highly price sensitive, the market holds considerable potential for glove manufacturers that are able to deliver quality products at affordable rates,' said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials & Food Research Analyst Aparna Balasubramanian. 'As the region is home to a number of low-quality manufacturers that compete on price, the competition is stiff.'

Despite their cost consciousness, consumers are willing to test out new products such as nitrile gloves. These have proved to be far superior to rubber gloves due to their high resilience, higher elasticity and elastic memory, and less propensity to wear and tear, as well as avoiding the allergic reactions common to traditional latex gloves.

'Already, more than 30-35% of all disposable gloves sold in the region are nitrile,' noted Balasubramanian. 'The higher adoption rates and prices of nitrile gloves are boosting the overall revenue growth rates of the disposable gloves market.'

With the regulatory environment becoming stricter and higher proliferation of media and various sources of information, industries, employees, and management are acknowledging the need for quality disposable gloves. The influx of educational material will continue to highlight the value of using the appropriate type and quality of gloves for each application.

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Overall, the market is exhibiting high growth prospects due to the improving awareness regarding health and hygiene, compliance levels, and economic outlook for countries in the region.