Which new trends are likely to be seen in Body Armor Market ?

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.

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.

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