Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects employees by reducing/eliminating biological and chemical exposure. Goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, coverall gown (with or without apron), head cover, and shoe covers are a few examples of PPE that register high demand globally. The increasing demand for respiratory protective equipment in emergency medical response, military, mining, law enforcement, and fire services and increasing incidents of workplace accidents drive the personal protective equipment market.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has stretched healthcare facilities thin, as the limited number of hospitals and other medical facilities struggle to provide care for the burgeoning cases of infection. On March 6, 2020, the World Health Organization warned of a possible shortage of PPE. In response, players in the personal protective equipment market are ramping up production across the world.
PPE is extensively used in various sectors to provide full protection from hazardous work environments. Many industries now seek to increase their production rates, which has raised the demand for PPE for workers. As per the International Labor Organization (ILO) figures 2015, more than 2.3 million people die from occupational accidents or diseases each year.
As per guidelines by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), PPE is often overlooked and not considered a primary factor when the overall site safety is concerned. NIOSH reports that 20 million workers use PPE regularly to protect themselves from occupational hazards. The below figures depicts the number of fatalities in the U.S. in 2018, as per the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
PPE is mandatory at workplaces, where the probability of death or accidents is high. In the last few years, wearable technologies have gained traction in the personal protective equipment market. Smart technologies have become an integral part of the market, such as fitness trackers, smartphones, and smartwatches.
Workers at vulnerable job sites are suitably equipped with actuators and sensors that are interconnected to facilitate communication so that workers can operate safely and comfortably. For instance, Smart Eyewear, along with eye protection, delivers enhanced communication and increased access to real-time data at the job site. The Smart Helmet can examine situations by enhancing and providing information about protective functions. The sensors attached can detect the worker's temperature, moisture, brightness, and GPS location. These innovations have influenced the demand and, thus, drive the personal protective equipment market.
Many established market players are engaged in contracting PPE manufacturing on account of urgency and quick entry in the market, the capital intensive nature of the industry, and complex manufacturing requirements. For instance, CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited has contracted VIKING Life-Saving Equipment for the manufacturing of personal protective equipment and safety products required in the oil and gas industry. In August 2019, 3M, an established player in the PPE market, contracted Avon Rubber to manufacture advanced chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear respiratory protection systems for military, law enforcement agencies, and fire workers.
Recycling Equipment Solutions Corp., Recycling Equipment Solutions Corp, Westermo Teleindustri AB, Lyne Corporation, and Signature Enclosures, Inc. are some of the new contract-based PPE manufacturing companies in the U.S. Advantages of local contract manufacturing — reduced lead time and increasing profits due to reduction in logistics costs — drive contract-based manufacturers in the PPE market, significantly impacting market growth.
Stringent government regulations foster the growth of the PPE market. Government authorities have implemented safety regulations to reduce incidents and risks, thereby enhancing worker health and safety at workplaces. Several laws and guidelines compel end-use manufacturers to equip their workers with PPE certain work environments.
The use of PPE is mandatory for employees in industries such as oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing, among others. For instance, as per the U.S. memorandum of 2010 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), wearing fire- and flame-resistant clothing is compulsory for workers in the oil and gas industry. The figure below depicts the key regulatory agencies responsible for promoting the use of PPE.
The National Safety Council (NSC) is a public service organization that works under the U.S. Department of Labor to strengthen workplace safety. Its objective is to focus on preventable injuries and deaths at construction sites or manufacturing units. It provides employers and workers with classroom programs and online training to inform them about the casualties that can occur due to negligence. Several industries follow NSC standards to provide their work training programs on a regular basis, which positively impacts the growth of the personal protective equipment market.
The global personal protective equipment market is segmented on the basis of the type of product and end-use industry.
The figure below depicts the share of each segment by type in the personal protective equipment market.
Respiratory protection equipment finds widespread adoption in protecting workers from toxic gases, chemicals, and biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards. The emergence of chronic infectious diseases, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), has necessitated the use of respiratory protection equipment.
Various occupational sites in the construction, oil, and gas, and transportation industries release harmful elements such as asbestos, silica, diesel engine exhaust emissions, and mineral oils, which pose a severe threat to human health and respiratory protective equipment offers considerable protection in such environments.
The respiratory protective equipment segment is further segmented into air-purifying respirators and supplied air respirators. Supplied air respirators provide high-level protection and are mainly used in mining and firefighting and the oil and gas industry. Air-purifying respirators are generally used against particulate matters such as fumes or smoke to protect workers against vapors and harmful gases.
The extensive use of durable protective clothing in core industries such as oil and gas, construction, and mining is expected to increase market penetration during the forecast period. In addition, there is an increasing need for disposable industrial protective clothing in industries such as healthcare and chemicals where protective clothing cannot be reused due to contamination.
The manufacturing sector accounts for the largest share in the PPE market and is expected to grow at a considerable rate during the forecast period. Manufacturing activities are increasing rapidly in developing economies across Asia-pacific, South and Central America, the Middle East, and Africa, which is expected to propel the demand for PPE.
Manufacturing industries demand the massive application of PPE as workers are involved in many secondary and primary processes for the processing and welding of metals. Workers are also subjected to conditions in which they must switch from hard hats to masks and welding helmets to protective goggles and other essential PPE. As per the International Labour Organization, 2017, statistics in developed countries, manufacturing comprised 12 % of the workforce, while in developing countries, it accounted for 21%.
Oil and gas extraction sectors is also expected to raise demand for PPE products owing to increasing employment in this sector and rising extraction activities of natural gas. OPEC regulations have also mandated to monitor the safety of personnel working in Oil and gas extraction sites as well as in newly found shale gas reservoir sites.
The healthcare sector is expected to gain momentum in the PPE market owing to the rising need for protection against small particles in the air that may contain viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes, increasing prevalence of hospital-acquired infections, and increasing awareness about cleanliness and a hygienic environment. Disposable medical masks, disposable gloves, and protective clothing register strong demand in the healthcare industry.
Geographically, the global personal protective equipment market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America accounts for the largest share in the PPE market on account of increasing industrial activities in the U.S. and Canada, increasing emphasis on employee health and safety, and rising need for technologically-advanced and multi-purpose PPE. Numerous industrial organizations are proactively working toward employee safety.
In developed economies such as the U.S. and Canada, the establishment of strict regulatory guidelines has compelled companies to minimize health-related injuries and incidences. As per OSHA guidelines, employers in the U.S. are bound to provide employees with necessary PPE, which is expected to drive the regional market. In addition, due to the high adoption rate in North America, expensive PPEs generate higher revenue.
In Europe, leading market players focus on innovation in PPE and different strategies to expand their market share. Honeywell International Inc. is a market leader in Europe's personal protective equipment market, and its success is attributable to innovation to a great degree. In December 2019, Honeywell acquired Rebellion Photonics, which will help the company expand its product portfolio with artificial intelligence (AI) driven monitoring platform that can detect gas leaks, fire, and fumes to keep workers safe from injuries.
Industrialization, urbanization, and growing awareness regarding worker safety drive the Asia-Pacific PPE market. Southeast Asian countries are expected to gain traction with the growing use of comfortable, lightweight, and technologically-advanced PPE in the construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas extraction industries. The expanding manufacturing base in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia is expected to also boost PPE demand in these countries. The construction industry emerged as the second-largest application segment in Southeast Asia and is projected to expand further on account of rapid industrialization in developing economies.
The growth of the South America PPE market is driven by the region's increasing manufacturing activities, rising trade, and employment in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Worker protection regulations and increasing awareness are also expected to drive the regional PPE market. Balaska Equimentos is the leading distributor of PPE and safety products in Brazil and a manufacturer of protective clothing, respiratory protectors, and others.
The Middle East personal protective equipment market is expected to experience moderate growth during the forecast period due to the region's strict regulatory scenario and increasing awareness about personal safety among employees. In addition, the region's oil & gas sector is expected to drive the PPE market.
Africa is expected to witness limited growth in the PPE market owing to low development in several countries and economic disturbances. Although mining and quarrying sectors are dominant in Africa, the lack of regulatory frameworks and awareness about personal protection hamper the regional market.
The personal protective equipment market can be characterized by rising costs, demand for high-quality products, and the need for market expansion, to compete with the unstable economic conditions in several regions. Players such as E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Kimberly Clark Corporation, Ansell Limited, and 3M Company design and manufacture products to protect personnel from serious workplace injuries.
As per our analysis, players are adopting promising strategies that are fostering market growth. One of these strategies is the partial or complete acquisition of smaller participants by key players to diversify their portfolio and expand their outreach. Some of the notable players in the market are listed below.