|In 2020, demand for disposable gloves and personal protective equipment is at all-time highs. The global spread of the novel coronavirus has completely taken over the conversation—and the market—as glove manufacturers struggle to keep the supply chain moving.
Also on the rise, of course, is the cost of doing business. With shortages of raw materials and labor, and restrictions on who gets priority access to PPE, glove prices are going up. It’s not a matter of gouging, but simple economics: demand rises, supply drops, gloves get more expensive.
Keeping up with demand
For its part, AMMEX is working overtime to keep prices reasonable and to ensure that our customers are allocated the most gloves we can deliver. It has taken enormous effort to this point and will continue in that vein in the months, and likely years, ahead.
To meet the demand moving forward, manufacturers will look to produce as many gloves as possible. That means thinner gloves, already a trend in recent years, will move to the head of the production line, and 3- or 4-mil nitrile will become the new standard instead of a 5- or 6-mil.
In the COVID-19 world, people need gloves regardless of type. There will, of course, continue to be demand for 8-mil (or thicker) nitrile (or latex) gloves for specialized applications, like automotive repair, industrial environments, working with tools and machinery, etc. Those industrial gloves are more durable and deliver better barrier protection against chemicals.
There’s no turning back now
The caveat here is that the cost of such gloves will keep going up. Substantially. There is no heading back from this precipice, especially with current models predicting a global recurrence of the virus in the fall, if not sooner.
For medical-grade gloves, 4- to 5-mil thicknesses have become standard for protecting against pathogens and contaminants. Gloves are tougher today because of innovations made in nitrile and vinyl. They are less likely to rip (just make sure you’re wearing the right size) and more likely to last longer.