Lightweight Body Armors to Safeguard the Lucrativeness Aspect
The colossal rise in terrorist attacks, in the wake of growing socio-political vulnerabilities, has surfaced towering concerns regarding the safety of defense personnel. Developing countries such as China and India are persistently using their best endeavors on modernizing their legacy military equipment by heavily expending in their defense sectors. As the demand exceeds supply, defense agencies are seen establishing contractual partnerships with military equipment manufacturers to accommodate their specific safety needs.
In a landscape, where safety is exceeding its status as a sheer need, the body armor market remains under the shield of lucrativeness, given the influences of technological reforms such as non-Newtonian fluid used for liquid body armors. The development of covert body armors, with their bullet- and stab-resistant characteristics, have managed to infiltrate into the end-user space, wherein, anonymity remains a priority. Sensing the evolutionary nature of the body armor market, Transparency Market Research, in its latest study, unfolds the qualitative and quantitative dynamics, in the form of actionable intelligence, to assist stakeholders in forming long-term growth strategies.
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Estimating the Evolution of the Body Armor Market
Body armors have come a long way from being developed using animal hides and coconut palm fibers, to steel, and now composite ceramics. In 2018, 3,500 thousand body armors were sold across the globe, which corresponded to a value of nearly US$ 2,300 Mn, thereby keeping the interest of market players intact towards product innovation.
Manufacturers are safeguarding their position by embracing trends involving the development of new materials, such as aramid and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), to achieve high strength-to-weight ratios. However, their abilities are put to test, as the weight of the armor restricts the swift movement of soldiers.
With innovation being the only solution to reduce weight without degrading the quality of the armor, market frontrunners leverage R&D activities to develop soft variants with high flexibility and durability. Moving forward, the potential application of nanotechnology in the development of robust, durable, shock-resistant, and lightweight body armors will safeguard futuristic sales opportunities. Gauging the favorable market scenario, TMR estimates that, the body armor market will register a CAGR of around 4% during the forecast period of 2019-2027.
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Composite Ceramic – The Material of Choice
Persistent innovations in materials and manufacturing technologies have spawned improvements in the strength-to-weight ratios of body armors. Though thicker in nature, steel-based body armors prevent the free movement of soldiers, which has hard pressed manufacturers to move past the heavy variants and capitalize on lightweight materials.
Composite ceramic remains the material of choice for the development of soft body armors, with a competency to withstand even high-caliber ammunition. Nearly half of the body armors around the world that are sold in the defense, law enforcement protection, and civilians segments are developed using composite ceramic, and this percentage is anticipated to persist through to 2027.
Around 80% of body armor demand is generated from the defense sector, as concerns regarding the survivability of soldiers are driving investments. Furthermore, a surge in crime rates and incidences of mass shooting have been triggering the demand for body armors in law enforcement protection activities, which accounts for around 16% of the total sales.
As the governments of developed countries, in general, and developing countries, in particular, are investing towards acquiring competitive military protection equipment, promising opportunities surface for the body armor market. However, a low supply-to-demand ratio has been preventing manufacturers from acquiring the desired bottom line.
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How Body Armor Manufacturers Can Safeguard their Market Position
Decrease Investments in Level II-A Body Armors
Level II-A body armors generate low demand as compared to others in the batch, as they only possess resistance against bullets with nominal masses. The target end users for this segment are extremely niche, and significant gains are less likely to occur. In contrast, manufacturers can focus on the development of Level IV body armors, which offer the highest level of protection against 0.30 mm caliber bullets, and are highly preferred for defense activities.
Reduce Steel-based Product Portfolio
A significant number of manufacturers continues to add value to their steel-based product portfolios, while end users are already resonating with the soft variants, which necessitates the shift towards developing lightweight body armors. Manufacturers can expand their portfolios by leveraging composite ceramic material for the development of high-quality body armors. Further, manufacturers can capitalize on R&D activities to introduce new materials such as carbon nanotubes and non-Newtonian fluids for the development of advanced products.
Deprioritize Low Profit-Margin Contracts
Manufacturers can lay emphasis on getting business from lucrative end users such as defense and law enforcement bodies, while deprioritizing contracts with low ROI potential. Establishing contractual partnerships with defense agencies can help manufacturers maintain a channelized revenue stream.
Body Armor Market: Competition Matrix
The body armor market witnesses competition at various levels, with established and local companies at play. Established players possess a strong footprint in overseas territories, which implies their acquisition of a robust end-user base. Collectively, they account for a sizeable share of around 65-70% of the market.
Global players strive towards acquiring a major share of the market by pushing the physical boundaries of sales and targeting a wider set of audience. For example, Honeywell International Inc., follows the ‘expansion through acquisition’ strategy, and partners with numerous companies present in developing countries. The adoption of new technologies to advance their product portfolios has also been observed as a crucial strategy in the body armor market.
In the landscape where ideology regarding ‘quality of material’ over ‘cost’ prevails, local players constantly push the bars of their research and development activities to develop uniform designs and material technology. For instance, in January 2019, Point Blank Enterprises announced the launch of self-suspending ballistic system shoulder straps to offer lightweight and high-performance crew protection.
Analysts’ Take on the Future of the Body Armor Market
Authors of the report maintain a propitious perspective on the future of the body armor market. Major boost to revenue is likely to be incited by the demand for modernized protection equipment ascending from the military sector. Previously, the end users of the industry were confined to soldiers, which has now expanded to security guards, police officers, and even civilians.
Targeting countries such as the U.S., U.K., France, and China can turn out to be lucrative, as the high demand for advanced body armors prevails in these regions. Since material becomes the eligibility criteria when it comes to the sales of body armors, manufacturers can expend efforts in R&D activities to develop technologically-advanced materials, with lightweight being the priority. Investments made in the development of Level IV body armors will have better chances at sales closures among the others in the category. Manufacturers can alleviate their production capabilities to level the supply with the demand, and increase their bottom lines.
Body Armor: Definition/Overview
- A body armor is a form of protective clothing with the primary function of absorbing or deflecting bludgeon slashing and penetrating assaults. Previously, only troops were licensed to use body armors. However, currently, police, safety guards, and people are also using body armors to remain protected from assaults.
- There are two kinds of body armors: soft armor and hard armor. Body armors are classified depending on their ability to prevent bullets. There are two well-known body armor standards: the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets the global standard, while the Home Office Scientific Development Branch sets the U.K. standard.
- The global body armor market is projected to expand at a CAGR of nearly 4% during the forecast period, and reach a value of more than US$ 3,200 Mn by 2027.
Global Body Armor Market: Regional Overview
- In 2018, the body armor market in North America generated the most revenue across the world.
- The dominance of this region is anticipated to further increase in the near future, owing to presence of a large number of market players, and extensive research and development activities taking place in the field of body armors. Moreover, government military programs, such as the Soldier Protection System-Torso and Extremity Protection (SPS-TEP) program, implemented to provide the armed forces with full-body armors, are expected to fuel the body armor market in the region, during the forecast period.
- Furthermore, the body armor market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a significant CAGR during the forecast period. The region is likely to continue to hold the second-largest share of the global body armor market during the forecast period.
- Large-scale modernization of traditional systems in developing economies, and increasing number of instances of warfare and border disputes in countries of Asia Pacific, such as India, Pakistan, China, and South Korea, are driving the demand for body armors in Asia Pacific.
Global Body Armor Market: Trends
- A key trend that is impacting the global body armor market is the growing usage of nanotechnology materials and fibers.
- The body armors currently available rely on a stiff and relatively heavy layer of ceramic material to absorb a ballistic impact. This makes body armors heavy and unwieldy. Traders have started using unique fabrics in the manufacture of body armors in order to boost the efficiency of troops, safeguard police officers, and provide greater flexibility as well as better ballistic protection.
- Improved nano-properties include decreased weight, increased strength, enhanced durability, increased reactivity, and the capacity to change or tune certain characteristics. These characteristics have excellent potential to reduce the weight of soldier equipment and improve the rate of survival.
Global Body Armor Market: Drivers, Opportunities, and Restraints
- The global body armor market has witnessed strong growth over the last few years. One of the major drivers of the body armor market is the rise in terrorism and hostile activities across the globe.
- With the increase in terrorism and hostile activities, worldwide, various armed forces and law enforcement agencies are procuring body armors and accessories, which is currently driving the global body armor market.
- In addition, the surge in military warfare propels the need for ballistic protection facilities to protect soldiers. Developing economies such as India and China continue to focus on replacing old military equipment and increasing the expenditure on their defense forces.
- However, shortage of body armors and personal protective equipment is one of the key challenges for the global armor industry. In developing countries, the demand for body armor and personal protective equipment is increasing, but insufficient supply has resulted in an increased number of soldiers getting injured or losing their lives.
Global Body Armor Market: Key Segments
The global body armor market has been segmented based on type, material, application, and region.
- By Type:
- In terms of type, the global body armor market has been classified into Level II-A, Level II, Level III-A, Level III, and Level IV.
- By Material:
- In terms of material, the global body armor market has been categorized into steel, UHMWPE, aramid, composite ceramics, and others. The composite ceramics segment has been sub-divided into alumina, silicon carbide (SiC), ceramic–metal composite, boron carbide, and others.
- By Application:
- In terms of application, the global body armor market has been categorized into defense, law enforcement, and civilians.
- By Region:
- Based on region, the global body armor market has been classified into North America (U.S., Canada, and Rest of North America), Europe (U.K., France, Germany, and Rest of Europe), Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, and Rest of Asia Pacific), the Middle East & Africa (GCC, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa), and South America (Brazil and Rest of South America).
Global Body Armor Market: Competition Landscape
Product innovation and development is a key strategy being adopted by several leading players operating in the global body armor market. Companies are involved in R&D activities in order to develop innovative products, which helps them gain a higher market share than their competitors. Most companies are emphasizing the development of lightweight and hi-tech bodysuits for offering enhanced comfort, flexibility, and performance.
Key players operating in the global body armor market and profiled in the research report include
- Safariland Group
- Honeywell International Inc.
- BAE Systems Plc.
- Point Blank Enterprises Inc.
- Sarkar Tactical
- Australian Defence Apparel Pty Ltd.
- ArmorSource LLC
- Survitec Group Limited
- MKU Pvt. Ltd.
- KDH Defense Systems, Inc.
- U.S. Armor Corporation
- Du Pont (E.I.) De Nemours.
Companies operating in the global body armor market are also focusing on expanding their businesses through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.
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