Good Times for the Exam Glove Industry?  The Mad Scramble for Exam Gloves Continues Despite High Prices

Dublin, CA, January 18, 2010.  The world market for disposable exam gloves received an unexpected boost due to the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, reaching close to $2 billion towards the end of the year.  In addition to infectious outbreaks over the recent years including SARS and avian flu which followed the HIV epidemic, the growing world population and increase in occupational and personal hygiene standards are creating increasing demand for exam gloves.

The world market for disposable exam gloves received an unexpected boost due to the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, reaching close to $2 billion towards the end of the year.  In addition to infectious outbreaks over the recent years including SARS and avian flu which followed the HIV epidemic, the growing world population and increase in occupational and personal hygiene standards are creating increasing demand for exam gloves.  

According to a recently released report on the Worldwide Disposable Medical Gloves Markets by Marketstrat Inc., the medical gloves market is going through a number of transitions.  Market and technology trends in both exam gloves and surgical gloves are discussed in this report.  Some of the significant trends are as follows:

  • Powdered-latex gloves, both exam and surgical, are becoming a relic of the past.  Many European governments and health agencies have banned already them. The US FDA is likely to ban them in the future.
  • The most popular medical gloves currently are low-protein, powder-free latex gloves, followed by vinyl and nitrile.
  • Hospitals concerned with avoiding latex products are targeting the easiest and most obvious medical latex product, replacing them with vinyl or nitrile, an even better material which is now more affordable.
  • The surgical glove market has been invaded by a variety of synthetic gloves.  In addition to nitrile, new generation polymers such as polychloroprene and polyisoprene with superior comfort and tactile sensitivity present a viable alternative to latex surgical gloves.
  • Large manufacturers are responding to changing market demands by shifting manufacturing operations to synthetics.

Prices of all types of gloves rose over recent years as raw material prices and fuel prices skyrocketed.   Despite the economic slowdown in many countries, increasing demand has been driving this industry. High demand helped offset price increases due to production costs, with the most significant change happening in the nitrile glove segment.   Users started buying nitrile when production shortages and plagued the two popular materials, latex and vinyl.   As sales of nitrile started to climb, end-users began to notice that vinyl offered poor barrier protection, and the best hypoallergenic, affordable alternative to latex was nitrile.  Nitrile also offers better barrier protection against both chemicals and microbes. Nitrile is now the preferred material in many medical settings.  Unit sales of nitrile exam gloves are expected to grow at a cumulative average growth rate over 6 percent over the 2008 to 2016 period, about three times more than powder-free latex versions.    In the surgical glove segment however, nitrile has to compete with far superior synthetic materials made of copolymers.

Latex manufacturers are fighting hard to retain market share, offering new materials such as coated low-protein latex.  For the next few years, the global demand for gloves will help latex gloves weather the storm.  In the longer term, however, manufacturers will need to focus on technology aimed at reducing allergenicity even further, without compromising the natural comfort and fit of latex. 


Global Disposable Medical Gloves Market to Reach US$3.4 Billion by 2015, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

GIA announces the release of a comprehensive global report on the Disposable Medical Gloves markets. The global market for Disposable Medical Gloves is projected to reach US$3.4 billion by the year 2015. Factors contributing to the rise in consumption levels include healthcare reforms in several countries, and rising emphasis on health, occupational safety and hygiene among end-users in medical, dental and service industries.

San Jose, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) January 13, 2011

Though the healthcare industry felt the lingering effects of adverse economic conditions in recent times largely due to rising capital costs and unfavorable reimbursement scenario, the disposable medical gloves market however survived the crisis primarily attributed to the indispensable use of gloves in the healthcare industry. The year 2009, witnessed a significant increase in disposable gloves sales on account of the H1N1 pandemic. Further, rise in personal and occupational hygiene standards amid outbreak of various infections such as avian flu, SARS and HIV continued to sustain market growth in recent years. The deceptively simple looking rubber medical gloves masks a century of technology refinement, and development. Far from being just a rubber based hand protective solution, medical gloves have evolved from a simple clinical accessory made from intestines of sheep, in early 18th century, to present day technology ingrained hi-tech gloves designed to safeguard users against biological warfare, and bacterial contamination. Today, myriad types of medical gloves are made available to the medical community, ranging from sterile, non-sterile, to coated and hypoallergenic variants. There exists immense opportunities for growth in the global medical gloves market given the fact that dozens of pairs of medical gloves are utilized in a single day in hospitals and laboratorial settings, and the inherent intrinsic indispensability of the product among surgeons, practitioners, and healthcare workers.

The US and Europe dominate the global Disposable Medical Gloves market, as stated by the new market research report on Disposable Medical Gloves market. Driven by improvements in healthcare sector, Asia Pacific is poised to register the fastest CAGR of 5.8% over the analysis period. The Asian medical gloves landscape is currently speckled with manufacturing upgradation initiatives. The rising standard of living together with the increasing importance of controlling cross contamination and infections in hospitals and clinics have led to increased demand for latex surgical gloves in markets such as China and India.

Examination gloves that primarily aid in the prevention of microbial contamination of hands of the health care workers during various routine hospital procedures, represents the largest product segment. Currently, the growing awareness of latex induced side effects in surgical patients, and allergy in regular users have led to a major market shift from powdered latex to powder free latex, and synthetic medical gloves. Surgical gloves form the fastest growing product category.

Competition in the disposable gloves market continues to remain intense in light of competitive factors including customer and distributor relationship management, product innovations, competitive pricing, and the ability to maintain costs on a tight leash. The examination gloves market is comparatively fragmented and polarized in nature unlike the surgical gloves market, which is dominated by handful of players. The relatively complex, and capital-intensive manufacturing technologies required by surgical gloves is the major reason for the segment’s dominance by a handful of companies. Select players profiled in the report include Ansell Healthcare, B. Braun Melsungen AG, Cardinal Health, Inc., Cypress Medical Products, Dynarex Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Medline Industries, Molnlycke Health Care, Microflex Medical Corp, Paul Hartmann AG, Siam Sempermed Corporation Ltd, Semperit AG Holding, Supermax Corporation Berhad, among others.

The research report titled “Disposable Medical Gloves: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a strategic review of the Disposable Medical Gloves industries, key market trends, recent product launches, strategic corporate initiatives, and profiles of key market participants. The report provides annual sales estimates and projections for Disposable Medical Gloves market for the years 2007 through 2015, and 2001 to 2006 by the following geographic markets - US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Rest of World. Key segments and sub-segments analyzed include Examination Gloves (Powdered and Powder Free) and Surgical Gloves (Powdered and Powder Free).

For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please visit –

About Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA) is a reputed publisher of off-the-shelf market research. Founded in 1987, the company is globally recognized as one of the world’s largest market research publishers. The company employs over 800 people worldwide and publishes more than 1200 full-scale research reports each year. Additionally, the company also offers thousands of smaller research products including company reports, market trend reports, and industry reports encompassing all major industries worldwide.

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Raw Latex Surges Affecting Thousands of Products Worldwide

From Tires to Gloves, Natural Latex Products hit hard by cost increases and shortages.

Torrance, Ca. (PRWEB) June 16, 2006

The rising manufacturing costs on thousands of rubber products worldwide will soon be felt as raw Latex and other production costs continue to escalate beyond anyone’s comprehension.

Raw Latex is now at an all-time high as the rains continue to fall; making harvest a big problem in several rubber producing regions in Asia. At the same time worldwide demand continues to rise. Many manufacturers are now faced with very difficult decisions on whether to continue to sell finished products at a loss or discontinue production altogether. Recently the philosophy has been to sell at cost or below if need be, with hopes of regaining profits when raw material costs come back down. Unfortunately raw materials have continued to soar with no end in sight.

One product, latex examination gloves, has been particularly hard hit. Everyday something new affects the manufacturers rising costs. The raw Natural Latex comprises about 60% of the total cost of latex examination gloves. Combined with rising raw Latex costs, fuels used in manufacturing and the weakening of the U.S. dollar overseas has also impacted the foreign manufacturers. Soon the contract in Malaysia for natural gas will expire and is expected to rise approximately 25%. Currently, natural gas alone comprises roughly $1.60 per 1,000pcs of latex gloves. In addition to latex and natural gas, other factors include processing chemicals, huge investments in equipment, compensation to employees, etc.

Per the attached chart, raw latex in Malaysia has taken a jump from 3.74 ringgit in June of 2005, to 6.59 ringgit today, just one year later. With the current conversion rate of 3.65RM to US$1, the cost of the latex and fuels required to produce examination gloves is approximately US$20.00 before any profits. The current market price in Malaysia is between $18 and $20 per 1,000 for finished pre-powdered exam gloves. When the industry is faced with such huge increases in material costs in such a short period of time, it is extremely difficult to pass on the increases as quickly as they have been developing. In order for glove manufacturers to remain viable companies and much needed suppliers to the world there will need to be a market price adjustment of at least US$4.00 per 1000 in the very near future. In an extremely competitive market many factories have been in a wait-and-see mode, hoping others will react first with major price increases. For many of these factories, as they attempt to hold on and wait, they loose several dollars on every case that they produce. A medium size factory produces and sells at least 40,000 cases every month making the losses staggering. The larger the factory, the greater the losses.

Some factories have chosen to take measures such as adding fillers and producing thinner, lighter gloves taking a chance on compromising the barrier properties of the gloves. Others have actually begun to “short count” cartons, some as much as 10%. This is a frustrating problem for both the consumer, who gets short changed unknowingly, and the ethical Distributor faced with large cost increases trying to compete with another Distributor that might be selling for less by lessening the quantity.

With Natural Latex in such turmoil, Synthetic Glove products have taken on a new attraction with buyers. There are several to choose from varying greatly in fit, function and price. The issue with Synthetics is that none of them compare to Natural Latex when all factors are combined. Latex has become the gold standard for consumers, as well as being an economical choice in the past. Now, when manufacturers must adjust prices in order to survive, many consumers will have trouble justifying the higher prices and will instead choose to make the change to Synthetics.

A huge advantage many don’t realize with Natural Latex is the “green” factor. Not many consumers even think about it. However, Natural Latex is the only environmentally friendly glove product available. If the medical industry ever leaves Natural Latex altogether we will have a huge disposal problem as only Natural Latex is organic and decomposes. Synthetics must be burned or put into landfills for the next generation to worry about.

“Our company has stocked up on Non-Latex Synthetics such as our KoolTouch™ Nitrile and our UniSyn™ Stretch Vinyl gloves hoping to satisfy some of our valuable customers while latex is so unstable,” says UG Healthcare President Ken Stanton. “We are still very hopeful that latex prices will come down later in the year as it is the product that many consumers would really rather use for most applications. In the meantime we must have options for them to use while we all weather the storm.” We haven’t seen anything like this in over twenty years.



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