The global protective clothing market size was valued at USD 8,421 million in 2021, projected to reach USD 13,729 million with a CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast period. The purpose of protective clothing is to shield the employee or worker from hazardous or hazardous working conditions. Depending on the needs of the end-use industry, protective clothing can be modified to be fire-resistant, chemical-resistant, and cold-resistant, among other characteristics. Protective clothing shields the wearer from life-threatening and potentially harmful hazards and risks. Increased concern for worker or safety practices in industries such as oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, firefighting, construction & manufacturing has led to a significant increase in the demand for protective clothing.
The protective clothing industry heavily focuses on research and development (R&D). All industry participants make substantial investments to discover new markets for their product segments and to reduce overall production costs. In addition, stringent government regulations concerning worker safety significantly contribute to the protective clothing market's expansion. Nonetheless, the high cost of protective clothing and the persistent threat of substitutes are anticipated to restrain protective clothing market growth during the forecast period. A rise in protective clothing's penetration in industries such as oil & gas and pharmaceuticals will create significant opportunities for industry participants across the value chain.
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Increased Demand from End-user Industries and Heavy Research & Development
With steadily expanding industrialization, worker safety consciousness is also on the rise. Due to increased complexity and hazardous environments, protective clothing is highly demanded across all industries. Due to stringent safety regulations across all industrial sectors, diverse end-use industries, such as construction and oil & gas, experience market expansion. For instance, oil and gas workers are exposed to fire, explosions, and hazardous chemicals. Consequently, the industries require protective clothing for their employees. During the forecast period, the growth of the protective clothing market is anticipated to be fueled by an increase in end-user industries across various regions and stringent safety regulations in various industries.
Additionally, continuous research and development initiatives in the global market are anticipated to increase sales. Research and development is an investment in technology and future capabilities that yields new products, processes, and services. Increased consumer preference for protective, fashionable, and comfortable fabrics drives the introduction of new fabrics to the market. Research and development initiatives and product innovation are anticipated to create new opportunities for protective clothing in various end-user industries, driving market growth over the forecast period. This factor is anticipated to have a moderate to significant impact throughout the forecast period.
High Cost Associated with Protective Cloths
The high price of protective clothing is one of the most significant factors impeding market expansion. This results from high-performance fabrics and various testing procedures and standards. For instance, the production of multipurpose protective clothing necessitates blending multiple materials, which is an expensive process. Multipurpose protective clothing is specialized clothing that offers protection against various hazards. Initial research and development expenditures for specialized protective clothing are also expensive. A significant threat to the expansion of the global market is the high price of technical fabrics, such as aramids, and costly production techniques. This factor is anticipated to have a moderate to significant impact on the expansion of the protective clothing market.
Demand in Developing Nations
India, China, South Korea, and Brazil are emerging economies experiencing rapid industrialization. In these regions, the building and construction, oil & gas, and chemical industries are thriving, which could provide a growth opportunity for the protective clothing market over the forecast period. The growth of the protective clothing market is anticipated to be aided by an increase in investment by market leaders in response to a rise in governmental regulations. Rapid industrialization in emerging economies presents an opportunity for the expansion of the market for protective clothing. During the forecast period, this factor is anticipated to have a moderate to significant effect on the growth of the global market.
The global protective clothing market is bifurcated based on material type, application, end-use industry, and region.
Based on material type, the global market is classified into Aramid & Blends, Polyolefin & Blends, Polybenzimidazole (PBI), Cotton Fibers, Laminated Polyesters, and Others.
Aramid & blend material is estimated to advance with a CAGR of 6.3% and has the largest share in the protective clothing market. Nylon is the source of aramid fibers. Aramid fibers are distinguished by their high tensile strength and modulus. They have 5–10% greater mechanical properties than other synthetic fibers, making them desirable for various applications, including aircraft, automobiles, ropes for offshore oil rigs, and bulletproof vests. Aramids are commonly used for protective clothing due to their superior mechanical properties compared to steel or glass fibers of the same weight and their resistance to heat and flame.
Industrial growth in markets such as China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia also contributes to market expansion in protective clothing. Moreover, the massive growth in the infrastructure sector could provide potential growth opportunities for aramid fibers in the global market. These fibers provide high damage tolerance and impact resistance, which are advantageous for reinforcing bridge support and masonry walls.
Polyolefin & Blends material is anticipated to have the second-largest share. Polyolefins are hydrocarbons with a high molecular weight and low moisture regain. Polyolefin fibers are renowned for their resistance to chemicals, mildew, microorganisms, and insects, as well as for their excellent wicking action, high insulation, and high tensile strength. Due to their exceptional chemical resistance, the chemical protective clothing market stimulates the demand for polyolefin garments.
Based on application, the global market is classified into Thermal, Mechanical, Chemical, Biological/Radiation, and Others.
The thermal segment is expected to hold the largest share during the forecast period with a CAGR of 6.7%. The widespread and destructive nature of the fire hazard necessitates thermal protective clothing. In addition to fire resistance, oil repellence, ease of cleaning, and seamless fabric integration, thermal protective clothing must also be comfortable. Magid, a manufacturer, and distributor of safety solutions and personal protective equipment, introduced a flame-resistant welding jacket with a breathable FR mesh back panel to prevent heat exhaustion in August 2016. Hydroentangled spun lace non-woven Sontara, comprised of Nomex and Kevlar and widely used for thermal protection, was created by DuPont in 2014. Moreover, restrictive fire safety regulations and guidelines for reducing fire risk in the industrial space contribute to expanding the global protective clothing market.
Biological/radiation is expected to grow with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Ultraviolet radiation, which comprises a tiny portion of the solar spectrum, can affect living organisms, ranging from simple tanning to extremely malignant skin cancers. UV ray penetration causes skin aging, roughening, blotches, and basal cell carcinoma. The need for UV-resistant fabrics is necessitated by a growing concern for protection against harmful radiation. A rise in the risk of skin cancer and aging stimulates the global UV-resistant fabric market, stimulating the protective clothing market. Increasing radiation exposure is also a significant force driving the market for UV protective clothing.
The segmentation based on end-use industry includes Oil & Gas, Construction & Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals/Medical, Military & Defense, Firefighting, and Others.
The construction & manufacturing sector will hold the largest market share during the forecast period with a CAGR of 5.6%. The building & construction sector held the largest market share for protective clothing due to its advantageous properties, such as superior strength, durability, abrasion resistance, resistance to organic solvents, and high-temperature fabric integrity. In this end-use industry, the market is primarily driven by implementing stringent health and safety regulations in Europe and North America. Soon, it is estimated that the construction industry will incorporate an increasing amount of machinery, reducing its reliance on laborers and leading to a decline in protective clothing demand.
Oil & gas is expected to have the second-largest market share. Despite the high health and safety standards prevalent in the oil and gas industry, frontline experts and employees face numerous life-threatening dangers daily. It includes constructing well foundations, chemically treating wells, and hydraulically fracturing wells.
In addition, practices such as process sampling, handling, inspection, and catalyst recharging pose substantial chemical risks. Additionally, explosions may expose workers to fires, flames, and other hazards. Protective clothing aids by protecting against these hazardous chemicals, whether liquid or solid particles.
The regional segmentation of the global protective clothing market includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
North America and Asia-Pacific will Dominate the Regional Market
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North America will command the regional market with the largest share growing at a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period. In North America, the demand for thermal protective clothing rises due to increased demand from major industries, like oil & gas, construction & manufacturing, healthcare/medical, firefighting & law enforcement, and mining. The construction and manufacturing industry holds a significant share of North America's protective clothing market. In this region, the oil & gas market is expected to experience rapid expansion.
In this region, the heat & flame-resistant market is anticipated to expand significantly. The segment of high visibility fabrics is anticipated to experience substantial growth over the forecast period. The United States will dominate the North American market. In addition, strict US and federal regulations concerning personal safety issues push the global market expansion. In addition, upsurged demand for protective clothing from end-user industries such as oil & gas and building & construction is anticipated to fuel the protective clothing market's expansion. In addition, industry participants are adopting various acquisition and expansion strategies to combat the intense market competition. For example, in December 2020, Delta Plus Group acquired one of the largest manufacturers of personal protective clothing in North America, ERB Industries. Moreover, developments in protective clothing will generate lucrative market opportunities.
Asia-Pacific will hold the second-largest share of USD 4,388 million, growing with the highest CAGR of 7% during the forecast period. Construction & building is the fastest-growing sector in Asia-Pacific, particularly in China and India. During the forecast period, growth in industry segments like building & construction, oil & gas, mining, and automotive will increase the demand for protective clothing. The enhanced outlook for residential building activity in high-income nations and the rise in urbanization is anticipated to fuel demand for protective clothing in the construction and building application segment. In addition, rising medical hygiene standards in Asia-Pacific contribute to expanding the global market.
This region's market is growing due to increased demand for specialized clothing from various end-user industries. China's market has increased due to an increase in the country's gross domestic product, income levels rise, and consumer preferences shift. In Asia-Pacific, the demand for protective clothing is also influenced by the rising demand for technologically advanced and comfortable fabrics. In addition, the increase in arm wounds, hand cuts, and abrasions in the workplace drives the protective clothing market.