Isoprene rubber latex market has recorded steady growth trends in the recent years, as the material has found expansive use in products like surgical gloves, medical balloons and catheters. Recently Kraton Corp., one of the major players in the isoprene runner latex market and a manufacturer of specialty polymer and bio based chemical products, announced that it will be showcasing its medical and consumer products during the 2018 International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition. The product that is expected to capture center stage is Cariflex IR2GL1 Latex, that has been developed for application in surgical gloves. Kraton claims that since Cariflex lacks natural rubber proteins, it is quite effective in preventing Type I allergies as well in reducing the risk of Type IV allergies. Incidentally, the polymer business of Kraton uses the raw materials – butadiene, styrene and isoprene in order to make products for adhesives, consumer goods, coatings, and industrial products.
China Isoprene Rubber Latex (IRL) Market Size, By End-user, 2014 – 2025 (USD Million)
Cariflex holds a strong position in the isoprene rubber latex market on account of allergy-resistant surgical gloves, so much so that Kraton has reduced its reliance on commodity products such as footwear and asphalt where it has to compete with other renowned companies. The company has consequently increased its focus on surgical gloves and condoms which are higher pricing markets. The shift of focus from hydrogenated styrenic block copolymer (HSBC) products to isoprene rubber latex market has paid off as experts observed that Kraton's specialty HSBC business has been growing at a rate of 5% while the Cariflex business has been growing at 10% to 15%.
The global medical glove industry, that was valued at $5 billion in 2017 is expected to record a CAGR of nearly 6% over 2018-2025. Increasing awareness about safety and sanitation, regulatory norms regarding the use of personal protective equipment, rising incidences of acute and chronic diseases and a growing number of people having access to healthcare services are among the notable factors that are driving the expansion of medical glove market. Since isoprene rubber latex is a major component in medical gloves, isoprene rubber latex market is projected to register commendable profits from the expansion of medical gloves industry.
Isoprene rubber latex market has also found a significant growth avenue through the use of the product in condoms. The World Health Organization has largely supported the use of condoms for the comprehensive and sustainable prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as a means of avoiding unintended pregnancies. In an estimate presented by the WHO, nearly 2.1 million people were found to be infected by AIDS in 2013. Additionally, almost 500 million people were detected to have contracted STIs such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea. WHO further elaborates to state that nearly 200 million women had no access to adequate contraception which resulted in approximately 80 million unintended pregnancies. WHO concluded that condoms can play a central role in the decisive response that these three public health priorities require. Isoprene rubber latex market is expected to gain increasing traction, as government and public agencies are working towards increasing awareness about maintaining safety during intercourse and condom use has recorded a steady rise over the years.
Isoprene rubber latex condoms have also gained prominence due to their anti-allergic property. Most people with latex allergy are actually allergic to the protein occurring in natural rubber latex condoms. In contrast to that, isoprene rubber latex condoms are created in a clean laboratory environment and do not suffer from the same contamination problems as natural latex. Isoprene rubber latex condoms also offer the advantage of being lesser priced than polyurethane condoms and are much more stretchable. With isoprene rubber latex condoms offering consumers a better experience, isoprene rubber latex market is expected to gain traction from the greater demand for the material in the expanding condom industry.
Incidentally only a few companies across the globe manufacture isoprene rubber latex. Such companies include Kraton Corporation, Kuraray Co., Ltd., JSR Corporation among a few others leading to high consolidation in the isoprene rubber latex market. Development of the isoprene rubber latex industry is highly dependent on the research & development activities conducted by these companies. Increasing demand for isoprene rubber latex and capacity expansion as well as introduction of newer products in to the market by these companies will contribute to the growth of the isoprene rubber latex market over 2018-2024.