The Nitrile Glove market experienced unprecedented demand from 2020 to 2022 as a result of the pandemic and increased utilization across all sectors. Historically, Malaysia has been the clear manufacturing leader for this product with a market share as high as 80%. However, China has invested heavily over the past few years and is currently capturing the market share at an alarming rate. The dynamics are changing quickly and China is certainly on the rise.
First Phase of COVID: China Begins Stockpiling
During the first quarter of 2020 – China appeared to have limited exports while building inventories of select products that would be needed in the event of a pandemic line event.
Import Bans Increase: Labor Practices Draw Scrutiny
Beginning in 2019, more Malaysian producers began facing allegations of forced labor violations which resulted in import bans from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As certain producers were banned – the door opened for new competitors.
China Makes a Move: Rapid Investment in Capacity
As demand skyrocketed, Chinese manufacturers accelerated investment in nitrile glove expansion by expanding existing factories and building new ones. The new capacity translated to an increase in market share starting in Q3 of 2020.
Major Shift in Share: Malaysian Dominance Diminishes
The combination of increased Chinese production, aggressive pricing tactics and rolling importation bans against Malaysian suppliers are causing market share positions to reset — China has increased its share of imports into the US by more than 65% since 2021.