Synthetic hybrid gloves provide a temporary solution to the high prices and shortages of nitrile disposable gloves in the first half of 2021.
The answers, as you might imagine, were quite varied. Ratings for the portal covered the spectrum from 1 to 10, and customers offered a variety of opinions on what it’s like to sell disposable gloves during a global pandemic. (We will go into more detail as we talk with customers and share their stories in this space over the coming weeks.)
A recurring theme, however, was frustration over the availability and pricing of nitrile disposable gloves.
The great price lament
As we have said numerous times, nobody wants lower prices and more inventory than we do. We don’t set the prices for disposable gloves; those are controlled by market conditions. Any price increases you have seen in the last year are reflective of how much more we have to pay to purchase products from glove manufacturers in Southeast Asia.
At the same time, we are empathetic to distributors’ plight. We will have more nitrile gloves this spring, although they too will be expensive. In the meantime, however, there is a solution: synthetic hybrid gloves. Vinyl is proving to be an excellent alternative for millions of users.
Synthetic hybrids combine the versatility, lower cost—and greater availability—of vinyl with some of the attributes of elastomers like nitrile: improved fit and feel, greater comfort, and better barrier protection. Adding synthetic rubber to vinyl gloves imbues them with nitrile-like properties, enhances their elongation rate, elasticity, and flexibility, and increases their tensile strength.
They are not by any means a straight-up replacement for nitrile. You would not want to use them to rebuild an engine or handle harsh chemicals. But for hundreds of light- to medium-duty applications, they are a great fit.
The gloves of the moment
Because they are constructed primarily from a material in polyvinyl chloride that is not suffering from supply shortages, they can be produced in greater quantities, and often at a lower price point, than gloves made from nitrile butadiene rubber.
Here are a few worth sharing with your customers:
Gloveworks Industrial Black Synthetic Vinyl Gloves (GWBKQV): Black conceals dirt, grease, and grime for a professional look. This is a soft, supple glove that delivers elasticity and comfort. It’s suited for tasks from food service and processing to salon & beauty to janitorial, and lots more.
Gloveworks Industrial Blue Synthetic Vinyl Gloves (GWQIV): It is hard to believe that vinyl gloves can be this comfortable, but here they are, with nearly the fit and feel of nitrile. They are latex-free as well as powder-free, and offer dependable barrier protection for food service, janitorial/sanitation, nail & beauty, and more.
Gloveworks Industrial Blue Synthetic Vinyl Gloves (QIV): Another latex-free blend of PVC and elastomers create an exceptionally soft and elastic glove that features unique shape memory. Great for food service, jan/san, salon & beauty, painting, and more.
AMMEX X3 White Stretch Hybrid Poly Gloves (TEX3): When you want a glove for working with food, these stretch hybrid polyethylene gloves are versatile and value-oriented. Great for restaurants, food trucks, salon & beauty, janitorial, and more. Sold 200 per box.
We will of course keep you apprised of increased nitrile availability. In the interim, see if these synthetic hybrids are a fit for your customers. You, and they, might be surprised how well they get the job done.