Disposable Glove Distributors Know the Reality: Prices Will Stay High

If you are in the disposable glove business, you have been living the reality of higher prices for nearly a year. We’ve outlined the reasons for this more than a few times in this space.

Over the last year, there has been a lot of speculation about market dynamics. Frustratingly, 2021 is shaping up to be another year of short supply, high demand, and uncomfortable prices. Supply chains will be seriously put to the test. And customers are not happy about it.

We recently talked with several AMMEX distributor partners about how they have fared in this difficult market and how they deal with higher prices.

“Most of my customers have realized that’s the reality,” said Barbara W., who sells to both industrial and medical end-users. “At first they get ticked. I say I am so sorry, but this is the best price I can do, and I have to limit you on the number of cases that you take. About two days later they call back and say, ‘We can’t find them anywhere.’ And then we move on from there.”

Everybody’s doing the best they can

Mike H.’s company is a wholesale distributor of industrial packaging, safety, paper, and facility supplies.

“I deal with multiple sources for gloves, and everyone is in the same boat,” he said. The shortage of nitrile gloves have forced him to interest his customers in vinyl, but he has been met with resistance.

Barbara said of vinyl, “I sell probably 200 cases a month. I get black nitrile and sell those to restaurants and auto repair places, probably 50 cases or so of those a month. I sell some medical-grade nitrile in 14-mil. I sell very little latex.”

Synthetics are a solid option

One way to overcome objections to vinyl is with synthetic hybrid gloves. Synthetic hybrids combine the versatility and lower cost of vinyl with some of the attributes of elastomers like nitrile: improved fit and feel, greater comfort, and better barrier protection.

Kelly U.’s company services the restaurant industry, and she distributes gloves as part of her product line. She has found synthetics to be a useful addition.

“Now that we have the synthetic option, we’ve been using a lot of yours to supplement our overall offerings,” she said. “Nitrile is getting to a point where people are, one, unwilling to pay that amount, and two, the availability isn’t there. So far I haven’t had anybody complain about the synthetics.”

More gloves needed all around

Overall, Mike said, he just can’t get enough gloves of any kind to keep everyone happy: “There is no stability in pricing. I certainly understand it. I imagine it’s going to continue this way for quite some time.”

We anticipate that 2021 will be a year of transition as the industry strives to achieve balance between supply and demand. Getting through it will require patience and creativity.

AMMEX will debut its updated Partner Portal the week of March 22. Visit the Portal for all your ordering needs.

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