Analysis of the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) on Respiratory Protection Equipment Market

The impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) is deep and severe across all verticals in almost all major economies in the world.

Before the pandemic, China produced half the world’s face mask. After the outbreak of the disease across China, their exports were halted leading to supply chain disruptions across the world.

In the process offering opportunities for manufacturing-based economies,  prompting price hike due to supply shortage, thereby propelling the growth of the segment.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Key Metrics
  • Market Risks
  • Market Trends
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Other Key Market Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References

Definition / Scope

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by workers to protect themselves against the inhalation of hazardous substances in the surrounding air. This equipment is used by a variety of manufacturing companies involved in the production of chemicals, food products, pulp & paper mills, metalworking plants, construction, textile mills, etc.

This equipment helps to provide protection against various toxic substances including aerosols, chemicals, gases, sprays, solvents, etc.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) is identified by the World Health Organization as an infectious disease primarily caused by the coronavirus family. The virus spreads by saliva droplets or nose discharge and is known to damage the respiratory system, resulting in failure if left unattended.

While there are currently no specific vaccines or treatments for coronavirus, the use of precise PPE, protective and/or respiratory masks may prevent its spread and further outbreak.

The major RPEs used for protection against COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) include Air-Purifying Respirators, n-95 respiratory masks and Particulate Respirators.

N95 mask is the part of personal protective equipment, which is used to protect the wearer from the airborne particles and from the liquid contaminating the face. The N95 masks are specially designed to filter out at least 95% particles from breathing in including dust and molds.

The Air-Purifying Respirators approved for use by CDC for COVID-19 include Elastomeric Half-mask Respirator, Full-Facepiece Respirator, Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (Tight-Fitting Facepiece) and Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (Loose-Fitting Hood).

The APRs are primarily used by healthcare workers and first responders to prevent the exposure to the virus.

The periodic advent of various pandemics and alarming emergency health conditions around the globe has largely affected Respiratory Protection Equipment market trends.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) has enunciated the adoption of respiratory protection equipment. Nearly 1.7 million people have been affected by the pandemic, taking lives of over 108,828, with the number only rising every day.

This has raised countless concerns in the medical sector, prompting healthcare firms to build highly advanced equipment that would help combat COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) spread.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) outbreak has had a positive impact on the RPE industry, as demand for masks, respirators, protective clothing and gloves has increased significantly.

The manufacturing, aerospace, etc. sectors have supplied RPE to their employees to protect them against the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) pandemic.

Furthermore, due to the increasing demand-supply gap, the manufacturers are operating at 100 per cent ability to supply RPE across regions. Consequently, the RPE market is expected to experience high growth over the forecast period.

Market Overview

The demand for Respiratory Protection Equipment is set to increase 100X due to the effects of the pandemic Coronavirus Disease as population outside patient care are engaged in activities such as stockpiling, panic buying and spreading hoax.

The Respiratory Protection Equipment market is expected to witness a spiked-up growth rate of 65% from a market size of US$ 6.63 Billion in 2019 to US$ 12.59 Billion in 2020.

Air-Purifying Respirators are gaining significant traction in demand recently, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) pandemic as the devices including PAPRs (Powered Air-Purifying Respirators) are used for protection from exposure to patients (caused as an effect of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease).

Air-Purifying Respirator segment is expected to witness demand to the tune of US$ 8.18 Billion in 2020. Of which the Powered APRs segment is set to hold a market size of US$ 3.68 Billion in 2020.

Medical & Healthcare sector generated revenue of more than US$ 1.8 Billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a significant rate in 2020 to a valuation of US$ 8.2 Billion in 2020. As much of the demand for these equipment is set to be expected from this vertical.

This growth is driven by growing usage of air-purifying disposables and respiratory masks in the healthcare sector for protective purpose of healthcare workers from exposure to COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) patients.

Powered air purifying respirator accounted for 45.0% of APR revenue in 2019 as a result of its increasing demand for healthcare workers and first responders protection against exposure to COVID-19 patients.

North America is witnessing significant demand for Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) due to the region being severely affected due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) pandemic.

With total patients testing positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) counted nearing 532,879 with 20,577 total deaths in USA. Due to the exorbitant increase in the number of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) confirmed cases there is a splurging demand for Respiratory Protection Equipment such as APRs, n-95 respiratory masks and particulate respirators in the region.

The demand for RPE in Europe region is such that the supply is outstripped by the demand by a huge magnitude, due to the fast increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) patients in the region.

With a total number of confirmed cases in the region increasing from 15,381 (as recorded on March 10th 2020) to 709,978 (as confirmed on April 08th 2020), a massive increase of 46 times in the number of confirmed cases within a span of 1 month.

There is an acute shortage of RPE such as APRs, particulate respirators in the region which opens doors for large manufacturers of these devices.

Due to the overwhelming demand for the Respiratory Protection Equipment, the raw materials such as spun-bound Polypropylene which is scarcely available is gaining significant demand and hence the prices of them have increased from US$ 2,842 / ton to US$ 56,850 – 71,000 / ton, a whopping 20-25 times increase in a span of 3 months.

Market Risks

Restrictions by countries on Export of RPE

Scores of countries have moved to restrict the export of RPE such as APRs, n-95 respiratory masks and articulate respirators as the respective countries are witnessing hundred-fold surge in demand for the Respiratory Protection Equipment.

This restriction on export of RPEs is leading other countries to source products that have higher price tags. 

Currently 68 countries have curbed export of Respiratory Protection Equipment and it is significantly affecting the quality of healthcare offered to patients suffering from COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) as some of the critical RPEs such as APRs, n-95 respiratory masks and articulate respirators.

Lack of Standards

n-95 respiratory masks are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. Not all the n-95 respiratory masks comply with the regulations formulated by FDA, thus they require further examination before use.

There exists different standards in countries such as Australia, Brazil and Japan that produce KN95 masks that lack the standards formulated by the FDA, though they are accepted for use in the U.S as an effect of the emergency need for these masks there still exists usage risks in the case of protection against COVID-19.

Top Market Opportunities

Widespread use of RPE outside patient care

Recognizing the widespread use of personal protective equipment outside patient care by common citizens to shield themselves from COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), companies in the supply chain are taking advantage of this opportunity to increase the competitive price of their products.

Despite significant efforts to increase production capacity, supplies stagnate and the market situation has become severe, mainly due to the prolonged closure of factories in China has offered opportunities for mass manufacturers to capitalize.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that serious and plunging threats to RPE’s global supply – caused by abuse, panic buying, and stockpiling – are placing lives at risks of both health workers and patients alike.

Strategic collaboration between Governments and Health Organizations with Manufacturers

Governments and health organizations around the world are increasingly collaborating with producers and suppliers to address the supply-demand gap in the RPE. 

In addition to making strategic steps to normalize the situation, manufacturers are currently avoiding manufacturing industrial RPE such as APRs, n-95 respiratory masks, particulate respirators and concentrating on medical applications products.

Nevertheless, developments are on the horizon for smart personal protective equipment to provide real-time information, reduce hazard exposure and enable adjustments to internal and external conditions. Post supply chain normalization, the demand for RPE will continue to grow in line with increasing mining activities and infrastructural development.

Market Trends

Spike in demand from critically affected Regions

North America and Europe remained key markets for Respiratory protection equipment for both medical and industrial applications with major players expanding their presence in developing Asian Pacific countries such as China and India.

Rapid industrialization, low operation cost and cheap labor in these countries have created a stable supply chain for global market stakeholders. Nevertheless, the situation is changing rapidly in the midst of coronavirus outbreak and subsequent factory lockdown.

As the United States experiences a unprecedented upsurge of patients seeking COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) treatment, the government is using federal powers to force local companies to manufacture, urging other countries to accelerate the production of PPE, and seeking to purchase any quantities major RPE-producing countries can spare.

Government compliance pertaining the adoption of RPE

Government compliance pertaining the adoption of RPE is expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period. Following the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), in 2020, the UK government along with the National Health Service (NHS), published new guidelines for the RPE usage by NHS healthcare workers who are dealing with COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) patients.

The guidelines have been based on scientific evidence and in addition to confirmation from World Health Organization (WHO).

Moreover, the guidelines recommend the optimal level of respiratory protection equipment (RPE) that will protect the NHS healthcare workers and will make them aware regarding the type of RPE to be worn in several healthcare environment where the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) patients are being treated.

Rising need to protect healthcare workers from exposure to COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) infected patients

There is an alarming need to protect the healthcare workers from exposure to the novel coronavirus. The spread of COVID-19 depends on the type of work being performed and the related exposure risk, including potential for interaction with the infectious people and work environment contamination.

As healthcare workers such as Doctors, Nurses and lab-technicians are majorly exposed to infected patients utmost priority is placed on protecting them from exposure to COVID-19 infected patients.

Also, employers are adopting infection control strategies such as implementing safe work practices, an appropriate combination of administrative and engineering controls, and usage of Respiratory protection equipment (RPE) to prevent worker’s exposure.

Burgeoning need of RPE for patients with critical symptoms

Most COVID-19 patients have symptoms of respiratory tract infection such as dyspnea, of which the proportion of serious and critical patients is around 13%.

Patients with dyspnea need to be given prompt Respiratory care to reduce the progression of disease into much severe state, especially since there are no appropriate drugs to cure the disease. This impact of COVID-19 across the globe is expected to increase the RPE market size.

High price of supplied air respirators

Supplied-air respirators (Ventilators) which are used for patients suffering from critical conditions such as lung infections are very expensive type of respirators. They are mainly used for offering ventilation to patients suffering from critical state of COVID-19 such as lung infection.

The cost of the supplied-air respirators can go up to ten times the cost of air purifying respirators. Moreover, the maintenance cost associated with supplied-air respirators is higher than the cost of maintaining air-purifying respirators.

Also the surging demand for the equipment is further adding to the price-tag of the equipment.

Sale of Inexpensive and Low-Quality Products

Lack of consumer awareness of workplace hazards accompanied by the selling of substandard, low-grade, and inexpensive products may hinder the growth of the market for respiratory protection equipment.

In addition, the threat posed by duplicate, inferior quality, and substitute products can hinder the growth of the RPE market. The sale of low-quality products would not help the cause of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 disease as they lack the ability to prevent the exposure to droplets of the corona virus.

Industry Challenges

Unavailability of raw-materials

There is an acute shortage of raw-materials used for the production of Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) due to lockdown and ban on export of essential raw materials such as melt-blown plastic and spun-bound polypropylene (forming the outer layer and the inner layer) used for the manufacture of N95 surgical respirators.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to RPE stockpiles depleting and producers are reporting backlogs of 4 to 6 months. Supplies are stagnating and the market situation has become severe.

In addition, the coronavirus outbreak forced the prolonged closure of all factories in China through most of February, with many of them yet to reopen.

As the world’s global hub for manufacturing, shutdowns in China result in supply chain disruptions for RPE manufacturers that rely on raw materials or products from China. Thus, the world is facing a global shortage of RPE including N95 surgical respirators, especially for buyers dealing with medical supplies.

As China continues to consume more of the protective gear it produces, the rest of the world is fighting over what is left. Thereby, creating acute shortage of raw-materials that is sourced from China.

Adoption of Alternate technologies

While RPE’s inappropriate use and supply scarcity persists, the WHO has put forward many measures to promote optimum RPE availability and standardize the supply chain.

The use of telemedicine to diagnose potential COVID-19 cases and physical obstacles to reduce exposure and to restrict healthcare staffs who are not interested in direct care from coming into contact with COVID-19 patients is likely to minimize the need for RPE.

Thus, the rationalized use and distribution of RPE along with a rapid response to curb disease spread is expected to bridge the widening gap between supply and RPE demand.

Technology Trends

Respiratory protective equipment is not something that people use very often. But it is a very important measure for protection to a person, particularly during a pandemic outbreak in order to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.

Similar to SARS, COVID-19 is an extremely contagious respiratory disease that has a significant effect on society.

Accordingly, COVID-19 has increased the usage of masks and caused a global shortage of supply. However, there are alternatives to masks that could protect people from deadly airborne pathogens that are worth considering.

Some of the new technologies developed for fighting COVID-19 includes:


Ao-Air’s patented PositivAi technology utilizes fans to create a positive pressure that creates a clean air environment and allows a person to breathe freely, requiring no seal around the mouth and nose.

This system allows clean, cool air to comfortably escape the mask around the face creating a continuous, one-way outflow that keeps outside air out. This means unparalleled protection, which is up to 50x better than current market-leading solutions and creates a more humane experience.


Developed by a team from IIT Delhi, Nasofilters offer a respiratory nasal filter that sticks to your nose and prevents entry of harmful air pollutants (PM2.5). Nasofilters are easier to use than traditional anti-pollution masks.

The product is small and stealth; it offers protection when wearing masks is not possible, such as in business meetings.

Pricing Trends

Pricing trend of Respirators

The price of N95 Respiratory masks and Particulate Respirators have peaked insanely during the period the COVID-19 has intensified. According to data from Keepa, a company that monitors prices on Amazon, the top best-seller in Amazon’s “Health Face Masks” category, a box of 100 generic blue disposable masks, is selling for US$ 15, nearly four times what it cost just a few weeks earlier.

The so-called N95 respirators are more expensive which, unlike looser-fitting masks, keep out small airborne particles and are most often used to protect against airborne transmission.

Since late January, the price of a package of 20 particulate respirators manufactured by 3 M and sold by independent merchants has nearly quadrupled from US$ 17 to US$ 70.

A kit of 20 respirators manufactured by another major manufacturer, Honeywell, and also sold by third parties includes quintupled from US$ 12.4 to US$ 64.

Pricing trend of Raw-Materials

The spun-bound polypropylene which is the primary raw-material used both in the inner and the outer layer for the manufacture of N95 masks is witnessing significant demand and a spike in the price. 

For instance In China, the price for spun-bound polypropylene rocketed from the previous less than 20,000 Yuan/ton to 300,000 Yuan/ton and even higher up to 400,000-500,000 Yuan/ton in the price offering.

The demand/supply relationship here in the market as the mask manufacturers are starving for meltblown nonwovens, is driving up the raw material prices. A meltblown nonwoven manufacturer in Beijing has told CHINA TEXTILE that its price was somewhere at 18,000 Yuan/ton before the coronavirus breakout, and is over 400,000 Yuan/ton, 20 times higher at the moment today on March 8.

The production of this special product is usually adequate for consumption, due to its small niche market, but the outbreak of COVID-19 goaded a lot of companies not only in textile industry, but also in the other sectors of the industry to invest in new lines or capacity expansion, including some new comers who shunted their lines to the mask production to keep abreast of the rising demand, intensifying the competition not to sell out, but to buy in when it comes to availability of meltblown nonwovens.

Regulatory Trends

Government and regulatory implications during COVID-19

For now, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is expected to further accelerate the growth of the respiratory devices market. In addition, the threat will have a lasting impact on governments and regulatory agencies in terms of future preparedness when it comes to the next pandemic.

Today, policymakers around the world are playing catch-up, acting quickly in an effort to shape partnerships with manufacturers to deal with the danger of COVID-19. And, certain respiratory devices are being given accelerated clearance by international regulatory agencies.

For example, in the United Kingdom (UK), the government has asked automakers — including Ford, Honda, and Rolls-Royce — to temporarily move part of their assembly line emphasis from cars to the production of respiratory equipment.

Once an agreement has been reached, the UK Regulatory Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products (MHRA) must then ensure that the automakers comply with the same rules and regulations as the rest of the medical devices industry.

And in late March, to help alleviate ventilator shortages, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use approval to a device called Vesper — developed by Prisma Health — which can support up to four patients on one ventilator. Typically, using a ventilator for more than one patient is discouraged.

Yet this often controversial usage is one of the exceptions regulatory bodies are making during a state of emergency.

In addition to speeding up registration procedures for necessary products, several regulatory agencies regulating medical devices are reducing import restrictions, all in an attempt to ensure that regulations do not hinder the production or availability of devices that may potentially save life.

Case in point: To promote the broader availability of RPE for patients, the FDA encourages international and domestic manufacturers of ventilation support devices not currently legally sold in the United States to seek an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that would require them to sell their devices in the states.

Finally, the FDA is reaching out to manufacturers who have not previously been engaged in medical device manufacturing — similar to what was previously mentioned with regard to the UK.

Other Key Market Trends

Increased Need for Protection for First Responders and Health Care Professionals

Driven by the rise of bioterrorism, infectious disease pandemics and ever-present illicit fentanyl used in the production of illegal drugs, health care and law enforcement personnel face life-threatening threats from inhalation of unknown toxins and bio-hazards.

The health and safety of first responders and health-care staff is paramount in reacting, preserving and protecting the environment.

Infection control is also among the priorities for respiratory protection for pandemic airborne diseases such as COVID-19, avian influenza, MERS, or measles, tuberculosis, and other aerosol transmissible diseases. As a result, health care facilities, laboratories, and first responders have begun evaluating a wholesale change to Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR).

Choosing to use an air-powered respirator instead of a surgical mask, N95, or APR is based on a hazard analysis of the particular work environments of the staff and the need to dramatically minimize the risk of transmission of infectious diseases between infected and non-infected people.

Air-powered respirators are rapidly becoming a favored choice as first responders and hospitals plan for pandemics, bioterrorism and other emergencies in public health by designating rooms for isolation of airborne infections (AIIRs).

Market Size and Forecast

Global Respiratory Protection Equipment Market

The Global Respiratory Protection Equipment is witnessing a massive spike in demand for air purifying respirators and N95 air respirators and particulate respirators.

The market size of the Global Respiratory Protection Equipment is valued at US$ 6.63 Billion in 2019 and is poised to grow at Year-on-Year growth of 65% to reach a market size of US$ 12.59 Billion in 2020.

The market growth of the Global Respiratory Protection Equipment is expected to fizzle out, once the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) is contained. The market is expected to witness significant de-growth of -11.5% to record a market size of US$ 8.84 Billion in 2025.

Air Purifying Respirators such as powered APRs, Elastomeric Half-mask Respirator, Full-Facepiece Respirator, Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (Tight-Fitting Facepiece) and Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (Loose-Fitting Hood) are set to witness significant growth and is expected to register revenue of US$ 8.18 Billion in 2020 from the current market size of US$ 3.26 Billion in 2019 growing at a Y-o-Y growth of 151% from 2019 to 2020 and is poised to witness the same demand if the Pandemic outbreak is not contained.

The demand for Air Purifying Respirators is also expected to cool down, once the Coronavirus disease is contained. The APR segment is expected to witness a de-growth of (-) 12-15% from 2020 to 2025 recording a market size of US$ 4.32 Billion to US$ 3.63 Billion in 2025

The Powered APRs segment is set to hold a market size of US$ 3.68 Billion in 2020. It is expected that the Powered APR segment is expected to reach a market size of US$ 1.83 Billion in 2025 attaining a de-growth of -13% from 2020 to 2025.

Medical & Healthcare sector generated revenue of more than US$ 1.8 Billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a significant rate in 2020 to a valuation of US$ 8.2 Billion in 2020.

The massive rush to buy N-95 masks has created a huge shortage of these face masks for the healthcare professionals. With the growing cases of coronavirus, physicians, nurses and other frontline medical staff are experiencing the scarcity of these masks, which puts their lives at risk.

Many countries like the U.S., Italy, and Spain are facing the N95 mask shortage, with global pandemic spreading out. For example, the U.S. had only 12 million N95 respirators and 30 million surgical masks as of March 2018—just 1 percent of what is estimated to be needed during this pandemic.

In addition to this, with the increasing demand for face masks are going up to 4 fold the original amounts. More expensive masks like N95 respirator masks see quadrupling prices, from around USD 15 to more than USD 60 for packs of 20.

North America

North America accounted for the major market share of 36.23% in the year 2019. This is mainly due to rising number of coronavirus cases and death rate in the U.S. For instance, as of 13th April 2020, there are total 557,043 registered cases and around 21,952 death cases due to coronavirus. Therefore, there is a massive demand for masks in the North America.

In addition to this, U.S. is one of the most extensive N95 mask producer in the world. However, due to pandemic, many companies have temporarily shut down the operation.  In addition to this, presence of key companies in the U.S. is projected to boost the market.

For instance, 3M, one of the largest N95 manufacturers has increased the production of masks to 1.1 billion per year from 400 million per year.

The market size of the North American Respiratory Protection Equipment is estimated to be worth US$ 2.4 Billion in 2019 and is projected to reach a market size of US$ 4.03 Billion growing at a Y-o-Y growth of 68%.

If the pandemic COVID-19 is contained, then the RPE market is expected to witness de-growth to the tune of (-) 18 to 22 % to reach a market size of US$ 1.49 Billion in 2025.

South America

The effect of COVID-19 in South America is not as severe as it has in North America and Europe. But there is a significant shortage of air-purifying respirators and particulate respirators as demand has outpaced supply in the region. Until, 12th April the total number of COVID-19 cases is 48,094 cases with total deaths nearing 1,951.

Hence, due to the exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases there is also an exponential demand for APRs, n-95 respiratory masks and particulate respirators in the region.

The market size of the South American RPE market is estimated to be US$ 345 Million in 2019 and is poised to reach a market size of US$ 524.4 Million in 2020 growing at a Y-o-Y growth of 52%.

The market is forecasted to witness de-growth in the forecast period (2020 to 2025) once the coronavirus disease is contained and is expected to reach a market size of US$ 232.5 Million in 2025.


The European Respiratory Protection Equipment market is valued at US$ 1.92 Billion in 2019 and is expected to witness Y-0-Y growth of 74.6% to reach a market size of US$ 3.35 Billion in 2020.

The market is forecasted to reach a market size of  US$ 1.2 Billion in 2025 attaining a de-growth of 20.5% due to the containment of the COVID-19 disease.

Europe region is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 74.6% over the forecast period.  European countries such as Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the U.K. have been worst hit by the global pandemic.

Therefore, there is a huge demand for N95 mask across the region. Italy had a monthly requirement of over 90 million masks, which includes FFP2 and FFP3, standard European masks.

Furthermore, Germany is also severally heated by global pandemic and facing the shortage of N95 masks amid to the Covid-19. Thus, automotive manufacturers Volkswagen and Daimler Group announced that they are providing about 200,000 category FFP-2 and FFP-3 protective face masks for public health protection in Germany.  


In the Asia Pacific region, the demand for N-95 respiratory masks and particulate respirators in China is estimated at 202.8 K units in 2020, compared to 14.7 K units in 2019.

In 2020, production is projected to increase by 1279.6%. The demand for Ventilators will decrease based on the contamination of COVID-19, and the excess mask manufacturing capacity will be faced with greater adjustment.

Additionally, the overall ventilator production is expected to fall back in 2021.

The market size of the APAC Respiratory Protection Equipment market is projected to be US$ 1.15 Billion in 2019 and is poised to reach a market size of US$ 1.9 Billion growing at a Y-o-Y growth of 65.2%.

The APAC RPE market is expected to witness de-growth of 19.2% to reach a market size of US$ 650 Million in 2025 after the containment of the coronavirus disease in 2020.

Middle-East & Africa

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Middle-East & Africa has crossed 100,000 cases and is in the 3rd stage (Community spread) of the maturity of the disease.

Thus, there is a rising demand for the Respiratory Protection Equipment such as air-purifying respirators, n-95 respiratory masks and particulate respirators.

The market size is expected to reach a market size of US$ 705.2 Million in 2020 showing a Y-o-Y growth rate of 46% from the current market size of US$ 483 Million in 2019. 

The MEA Respiratory Protection Equipment market size is expected to reach a  market size of US$ 193.72 Million in 2025 after the containment of the disease in 2020.

Market Outlook

Product Insights

On the basis of product, the market is categorized into air-purifying respirators and supplied air respirators. The air purifying respirators segment is expected to lead the market as it has huge demand from the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry for protection of Healthcare workers including Doctors, Nurses and Lab technicians from exposure to COVID-19 patients.

End-User Insights

On the basis of end-user industry, the market is categorized into healthcare & pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, defense & public safety services, construction, mining and other industries.

Due to increase in workforce and rising consumption of disposable respirators, the healthcare industry is expected to increase the demand in healthcare & pharmaceuticals.

Further, the disposable air-purifying respirators demand is growing due to adoption in healthcare industry for protection against biohazards and chemical hazards.

Healthcare segment is expected to dominate the end use industry segment of the global respiratory protection equipment market.

Regional Insights

In terms of volume, North America held more than 34% share in the global respiratory protective equipment market size owing to increasing product usage in treating patients with the critical condition such as COVID-19.

Another key region in the market is Europe as it is the severely affected region with total number of confirmed cases reaching 852,899. European Union has also provided regulations to enhance the usage of respiratory protective equipment in the region.

Technology Roadmap

The WHO has defined a R&D roadmap for alleviating the effects of COVID-19 as follows

Research and innovation play increasingly important roles during, after, and in anticipation of public health emergencies. Conducting research is linked to “a moral obligation to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible”.

It is important to underline that research—implemented as policy and practice—can save lives and needs to be integrated into the response from the start.

The global imperative for the research community is to maintain a high-level discussion platform which enables consensus on strategic directions, nurtures scientific collaborations, and supports optimal and rapid research to address crucial gaps, without duplication of efforts.

Importantly there is a decisive pledge to collaboration, solidarity and to equitable access to all innovations developed.

The WHO R&D Blueprint is facilitating such platforms. In addition to the research actions ongoing, a comprehensive collaborative research agenda has been drawn up. The implementation of this collaborative research agenda has started.

Goals of the Global Research Roadmap

  1. To facilitate that those affected are promptly diagnosed and receive optimal care; while integrating innovation fully within each research area.
  2. To support research priorities in a way that leads to the development of global research platforms pre-prepared for the next disease X epidemic (an unexpected epidemic by a known or previously unknown pathogen); thus, allowing for accelerated research innovative solutions, and enabling R&D for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines as well as their timely equitable access.

Distribution Chain Analysis

A 100x Surge in Demand: The RPE Supply Chain Tries to Cope With COVID-19

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted more than 100,000 people globally. From a business standpoint, its effects have been felt not just in the healthcare sector but across various industries due to its impact on the Respiratory protection equipment (RPE) supply chain.

After the outbreak, demand for masks, hoods and other protective equipment has risen by a factor of 100 and prices have soared due to the source of the coronavirus originating in China, causing a significant disruption in global supply.

This supply disruption has been exacerbated by the abnormally widespread use of PPE outside patient care by common citizens trying to safeguard themselves from COVID-19.

Suppliers are also using this opportunity to raise the price of RPE, especially N95 masks by a factor of 20. Demand has already surged exponentially and the Chinese market remains undersupplied.

This supply shortfall has led a few countries to reduce their exports to China so that they can be prepared for their own people.

The Global Outlook for the PPE Supply Chain

Companies with technologically advanced next generation supply chain management software with real-time communication may be able to cope better with the situation.

For example, 3 M is growing production at its manufacturing facilities around the world, including North America, Asia and Europe, as rapidly as possible.

While 3 M is not hiking its respirators ‘prices as a result of the outbreak, the gesture is not reciprocated by dealers and retailers.

The outbreak of coronavirus has contributed to a global health scare, a political debacle and – gradually – an economic disaster. It has revealed significant supply chain flaws in the RPE. If the pandemic is effectively eradicated, the clouds of doubt will begin to loom over an increasingly volatile economy.

Competitive Landscape

Key players operating in the global RPE market include Hakugen, Honeywell, 3M, Ansell, Kimberly-clark, Vogmask, Sinotextiles, KOWA, Prestige Ameritech, Cardinal Health, Gerson, DACH, Shanghai Dasheng, and Cambridge Mask among others.

Many companies have ramped up their N95 mask production to fulfil the supply-demand gap in the world.

Many vendors are also expanding their production facilities to double the production of masks. In addition to this, automotive, phone, and car manufacturer have also turned to produce the RPE.

Major Market Developments include:

For instance, in March 2020, 3M announced that they had expanded the production capacity for N95 masks to fight the pandemic and planning to produce more than a billion masks by the end of the year.

In March 2020, Honeywell announced that they had secured the contract from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to make 6 million N95 masks over the next year, to keep their hospitals and medical centres stocked with personal protective equipment crucial to fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

On 7th April 2020, 3M announced that the Trump administration allowed the company to export the N95 protective masks to the Latin America and Canada. The company also announced that the U.S. government and 3M are planning to produce 166.5 million masks over the period of next three months for the healthcare workers in the U.S.

Competitive Factors

There is a 100X increase in the demand for critical Respiratory Protection Equipment including Air-Purifying Respirators, n-95 respiratory masks, and particulate respirators. The major players are investing in increasing their production lines so that they can cater to the increasing demand from across the world.

For instance, In March 2020, Honeywell Company said that they are ramping up the production of N95 masks at multiple facilities across the globe to tackle the Coronavirus crisis and seeks USD 5 billion-term loan for the face mask production.

Countries such as Canada and some countries in Latin America have started importing RPEs from U.S to service their demands as the disease has spread across the world.

On 7th April 2020, 3M announced that the Trump administration allowed the company to export the N95 protective masks to the Latin America and Canada. The company also announced that the U.S. government and 3M are planning to produce 166.5 million masks over the period of next three months for the healthcare workers in the U.S.

Key Market Players

Shandong Dawn Polymer Co., Ltd. (China) is a China-based company mainly engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sales of polymer composites.

The Company operates through two business segments: Modified Plastics and Thermoplastic Elastomers Production and Operation segment and the Color Concentrate Production and Operation segment.

The Company’s products consist of modified plastics, including reinforcing and toughening modified plastics, flame-retardant modified plastics, high gloss modified plastics and others, as well as dynamic fully vulcanized thermoplastic elastomers and masterbatch products, including special masterbatch and multifunctional masterbatches.

Hakugen Co. Ltd. (Japan) manufactures daily chemical products. The Company manufactures and sells moth repellent, clothing care products, dehumidifying agent, insecticides, deodorizing agents, fragrances, deodorizer, cooling gel sheet and pillow, and other daily chemical products. Hakugen also manufactures cosmetics, personal care products, and medical products.

Honeywell (USA) offers hand protection, protective clothing, foot protection, respiratory protection, head protection, respiratory protection, fall protection, and eye & face protection products.

The products offered by the company are mainly used in construction, mining, food, oil & gas, manufacturing, The company, through its safety and productivity solutions segment, offers personal protective equipment products.

It offers hands & arm protection, eye & face protection, head protection, fall protection, protective clothing, footwear protection, respiratory protection, and hearing protection products.

The 3M Company (USA) offers protective equipment & clothing such as head and face protective masks, body & eyewear protective gears, workwear, and others. These products are used by government and law enforcement agencies, as well as automotive, oil & gas, healthcare, construction, and transportation industries.

The company manufactures protective fabrics as well as equipment made from protective fabrics under the safety and graphics business segment

Ansell (Australia) is a world leader in providing superior health and safety protection solutions. It offers products and services through four business segments, namely, industrial, medical, single-use, and sexual wellness.

The company, through its industrial, medical, and single-use business units, offers gloves and protective clothing for various industries

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (USA) is a global health and hygiene company that manufactures and provides consumer products. The Company’s products include diapers, tissues, paper towels, incontinence care products, surgical gowns, and disposable face masks. Kimberly-Clark’s products are sold in countries around the world.

KOWA Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. (Japan) manufactures and sells prescription drugs, food products, and industrial chemicals such as food additives. The Company has sales tie-up with Meiji Seika, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi-Tokyo Seika.

Prestige Ameritech, Ltd. (USA) manufactures disposable medical devices. The Company offers facemasks and respirators, medical goggles, surgeons masks, and other products. Prestige Ameritech serves customers in the United States.

Cardinal Health, Inc. (USA) is an American multinational health care services company, and the 14th highest revenue generating company in the United States. Its headquarters are based in Dublin, Ohio and Dublin, Ireland (EMEA).

The company specializes in the distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical products, serving more than 100,000 locations.  The company also manufactures medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel, and fluid management products.

In addition, it operates the largest network of radio-pharmacies in the U.S. Cardinal Health provides medical products to over 75 percent of hospitals in the United States.

Strategic Conclusion

A sudden spike in the demand for RPE has emerged due to the exponential outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) and its severity is being witnessed with the number of deaths crossing 108,828 which is significant considering the number of total cases totaling 1,780,315 cases.

Current global stockpile of RPE is insufficient, particularly for medical masks and respirators. Increasing global demand – fuelled not only by the number of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) cases but also by misinformation, panic buying and stockpiling – may result in increased global RPE shortages.

There is limited capacity to increase RPE production, and the current demand for respirators and masks cannot be met, especially if the widespread, improper use of RPE continues.

The outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) has disrupted almost all the sectors across all the economies of almost all the countries. This has lead to a standstill of all the efforts across all economies in the world.

Also as there exists no effective cure for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), the Respiratory Protection Equipment such as Air-Purifying Respirators, n-95 respiratory masks and articulate respirators serve as the first line of defense from the exposure to COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), the demand for RPE is set to splurge in 2020 and has significantly affected the supply chain of the RPE market impelling a 100X growth in demand leading to significant growth in the segment.

It is imperative that the disease must be contained and RPE serve the purpose.




  • PPE – Personal Protectiv Equipment
  • RPE – Respiratory Protection Equipment
  • CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • FDA – Food and Drug Administration
  • APR – Air-Purifying Respirators
  • NHS – National Health Service
  • EUA – Emergency Use Authorization

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