The non-disposable industrial glove market is currently experiencing rapid technological advancements in glove materials and designa result of foreign competition in low-tech glove segments. According to a new study from Frost & Sullivan (Mountain View, CA; 650-961-9000), total revenues in the non-disposable industrial glove market were estimated to be $1 billion in 1998. The industry is now expanding into niches such as cut and abrasion, chemical resistance, anti-vibration, and anti-static gloves.
The study from Frost & Sullivan, a marketing consulting firm, is titled U.S. Non-Disposable Industrial Gloves Market. It explains that domestic manufacturers are having difficulty competing on price, especially in the general work-glove category. Because of this, many are turning to niche markets to utilize their technological advantages.
Key opportunities for industrial glove manufacturers can be found in the cut and abrasion, chemical resistance, and anti-vibration segments. Specialized products with anti-static capabilities in the general and thermal segments are also expanding. In addition, there is a growing trend toward knits, says Brent Walker, a Frost & Sullivan analyst. Knit gloves are strong, can be laundered, are ambidextrous, and provide excellent ergonomics to reduce hand fatigue.
As R&D becomes more important and technology improves, glove designs are more capable of being targeted at specific jobs. Some technological advancements include the increasing use of advanced fiber and synthetic replacements for natural rubber, especially nitrile.
Consolidation is also an issue for non-disposable industrial glove manufacturers. Because the fragmented U.S. market is seeing increased competition from abroad, companies are beginning to participate in mergers or acquisitions. This is partly due to a lack of regulatory changes and enforcement that is restraining the market, the study claims.
The Frost & Sullivan analysis is divided into six main glove types: general use, thermal, chemical, cut and abrasion, electrical, and anti-vibration. Included in the study are revenue forecasts, market shares, market and technology trends, competitive issues and strategies.
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