Over the past three years, three primary variables—production, transcontinental logistics, and U.S. market logistics—have combined to keep the disposable glove market dynamic and at times volatile. Their impact has been surprisingly outsized.
In 2020, the pandemic turned the market (and the world) upside down. Shortages and price increases added challenges at every level of the business. Manufacturers turned their production lines over to thin medical-grade gloves. As a result, industrial products—especially thick and heavy nitrile—became scarce and expensive.
In the last 12 months, these challenges have begun to normalize, but we haven’t yet reached a “new normal.” We expect the market to continue its systematic normalization over the rest of this year and into 2024.
The three primary variables—all essential to assessing the marketplace and what goes into determining the supply, demand, and price of disposable gloves—have a number of sub-variables, which can move in opposite directions and in different timelines.
Before the pandemic, there were optimized supply processes in place—all with relatively predictable costs and timelines. All that changed when COVID-19 began to spread wide.
Add up production costs, international shipping, domestic transport, and a supply chain that is still patching itself up after three years of rough going, and the variables begin to exhibit erratic behavior.
It’s important, however, to remember that the market is stabilizing, which is good for disposable glove users. Prices are for the time being much more in line with pre-pandemic conditions (although they will likely never return to those 2019 levels).
Where are we now? The world may have moved on from the pandemic, but not every aspect of every industry has.
Listen carefully to what the market is trying to tell you. It will stand you in good stead for the rest of 2023 and into 2024.