PPEThe revenue of the total above-the-neck personal protective equipment (PPE) market has steadily regained lost ground since 2010 due to the slow revitalization of U.S. industrial sectors and greater expectations of safety assurances from their employers from the incoming generation of workers.

According to Frost & Sullivan, which describes itself as a partnership growth company that offers strategic analysis of various markets, the above-the-neck PPE market earned revenue of $1.04 billion in 2013 and is estimated to reach $1.21 billion in 2018.

Still many growth hurdles

While the total market revenue is expected to continue increasing, the report notes that there are still many growth hurdles, such as inadequate support to create a zero-injury safety culture, lack of regulatory updates that hinder the integration of new features, and product commoditization due to increased imports of low-cost PPE. Price competition has forced many domestic companies to reduce their costs by outsourcing a large part of their production to other countries.

"Safety awareness and compliance could benefit from a more consistent level of regulatory enforcement in contract-oriented industries such as construction," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Roland Heinze. "Above-the-neck PPE has not been subject to any significant regulatory updates, which has reduced the integration of new features that can help promote higher pricing and compliance. This lack of product differentiation has also made locally produced goods vulnerable to competition from low-cost imports."

Customization and style

To remain competitive, companies are focusing on developing customizable and stylish products, increasing product variety, offering more services, and leveraging acquisitions to grow their global footprint, market shares and integrate technologies.

"Some manufacturers are now able to market themselves as one-stop shops for safety products. By increasing their penetration across all PPE markets, suppliers are able to lower transaction costs for end users and bundle full sets of PPE products,” said Heinze.

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