COVID-19 Will Keep Driving Demand for Disposable Gloves

Glove demand will only continue to grow with COVID-19.
In the pre-COVID-19 world, disposable glove use was always steadily on the rise, averaging almost 10% growth a year. Safety awareness has spread well beyond the medical sector and into industrial environments.

Due to the pandemic, all industries are investing heavily in hygiene and safety for their employees. Demand for disposable gloves is also increasing among ordinary consumers, many of whom have taken to wearing them in public as an extra safety precaution.

Demand accelerated quickly

March 2020 is the month when a largely regional phenomenon became a global crisis. Initially, it was difficult to gauge the full impact of coronavirus on the disposable glove market, but early indicators show that the tremendous surge in demand for PPE was coming.

In April, retail intelligence firm Stackline analyzed eCommerce sales across the U.S. and compiled a list of the fastest-growing and fastest-declining eCommerce categories (March 2020 vs. March 2019). The No. 1 fastest-growing category, Stackline found, was disposable gloves, which increased by 670%.

Problems in the global supply of PPE are numerous and well-documented. Most disposable gloves are made in Asia, where production capacity was impacted first by the Chinese New Year and then lockdowns across various countries, particularly Malaysia and Thailand, which together make over 80% of latex and nitrile gloves in the world.

Myriad issues with supply

Other challenges have included:

  • Shortages in the supply of raw materials
  • Export and transportation restrictions by some producing countries, and lockdowns that have forced suppliers to (temporarily) shut down. Shipping containers have been stuck in various ports due to quarantines
  • Logistical issues that include limits placed on what manufacturers can produce
  • Shortages of paper and packaging caused by a limited workforce
  • Labor limits at glove factories, brought on by lockdowns and movement restrictions, have resulted in capacity reductions by as much as 50% at some factories.

With low supply, demand to keep rising

Demand shows no signs of abating. It is only expected to rise as economies open up with new PPE regulations for businesses. Supply capacity will continue to be restricted. A balance between supply and demand will come, but it will likely take 12 to 18 months for this to play out.

This fluid situation is changing daily. The disposable glove supply chain will feel its impact for the rest of 2020 and beyond. AMMEX will continue to do everything in its power to be a thought leader and support our partners moving forward.

Thinking of adding disposable gloves to your product lineup? Let AMMEX show you how to grow your bottom line.