Global PPE Market to Reach $33.3 Billion by 2015, New Report Says

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In a new global report on the personal protective equipment (PPE) market, Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA) says that although current growth is slipping amid the cooling world economy, the global market for personal protective equipment is nevertheless expected to reach $33.3 billion by the year 2015. According to "Personal Protective Equipment: A Global Strategic Business Report," factors fingered to drive this growth include recovery in employment rates, rising emphasis on worker health/safety issues, stricter government mandates and technology innovation.

GIA says that PPE has long remained as functionality-driven products; however, growing consumer desire to combine safety with style, and protection with comfort is leading to innovation. A staggering array of products and solutions are now being offered, with an option for customization wherever required. Longstanding growth drivers in this market, which have and which will continue to push gains include legislations which enforce standards of worker safety, employment rates, increasing awareness regarding safety among industrial workforce, level of construction activity, rising sense of professionalism that accelerates acceptance of protective wear as part of workers paraphernalia and rise in career prospects for risky professions.


Growth of PPE receded as a result of the financial crisis and resulting world economic recession, according to GIA. The softness in business climate is expected to continue into the year 2010. Most of manufacturers earned below their potential, as sales of these products are tied to economy and employment rates, which witnessed a drastic decline. Demand was worst hit in most recession-beaten end-use sectors including vehicle manufacturing, steel, chemical and construction industries, while demand from public sector recorded relatively cushioned falls. Body protection, which includes fall protection, protective clothing, protective gloves, and safety footwear was affected by the meltdown in the construction industry, while head protection, which includes eye and face protection, respiratory protection and hearing protection was relatively cushioned due to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus. Dollar sales weakened with employers largely replacing expensive PPE with cheaper alternatives.

Despite the weakening in market variables brought about by the recession, the PPE market has successfully weathered the downturn without recording hurting erosion in sales and revenues, GIA says. This is largely because the underlying economics of PPE goes beyond the temporary weakness in the markets climate. Companies cannot afford to cut corners on PPE for long, given the disproportionately higher costs associated with employee/worker injuries, loss in productivity/performance, and penalties paid for violation and non-conformance of OHS laws. These costs tend to far outweigh any gains stemming from cutting PPE expenditures as a measure to save money. Additionally, a comfortable percentage of the PPE market is built upon legally binding requirements.

As stated by the new market research report on personal protective equipment, Europe and United States collectively account for a major share of the global market. Driven by rapid industrialization induced new manufacturing works and construction projects underway in developing markets of India, China and Vietnam, Asian market for Fall Protection Equipment is projected to reach $122.3 million by the year 2015.

In the post-recession period, market for PPE, such as eye, hearing, face and head protection; respiratory protection, as well as other personal protection products, is expected to fare better. Future growth in this market will be based on revival of economy, cost of accidents, increased insurance costs, and need for replacements as a result of obsolescence, and wear and tear. Also, the cost-effectiveness and sturdiness, the versatility and maneuverability, and the durability and availability of protective clothing & equipment will power its re-emergence onto the center-stage among the end-user sectors.

Personal protective clothing and equipment equipped with hybrid materials, smart technology and nanotechnology will witness rising demand. Products with integrated PPE will provide increased revenues in long term. Driven by rising focus to combat bio terrorism and risk of infectious diseases, global market for Respiratory Protection Equipment, is projected to reach $3.8 billion by 2012.

The report says that key players in the marketplace include 3M, Alpha Pro Tech Ltd, Ansell Healthcare Products LLC, Avon-ISI, BartelsRieger Atemschutztechnik GmbH & Co, Bekina NV, Björnkläder AB, Drägerwerk AG & Co, Eurodress GmbH, Interspiro, Gateway Safety Inc, Honeywell Life Safety, Jallatte Group, JSP Ltd., Kimberly-Clark Professional, Latchways Plc, Kwintet AB, Mine Safety Appliances Company, Moldex-Metric Inc, Pacific Helmets (NZ) Ltd, Respire Ltd., Saf-T-Gard International Inc., Sioen Industries NV, Skylotec GmbH, Scott Health & Safety, Sperian Protection, Wells Lamont Industry Group, and Z &V Group, among others.