The 2008 workforce decreased by 10.2 percent and expects to further decrease to 10.6 percent in 2009, shrinking the hearing protection market’s end-user base.
Market participants can hope for a reprieve from this market scenario with regulatory bodies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) compelling the construction industry to improve its safety compliance rates.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (chemicals.frost.com), North American Industrial Hearing Protection Products Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of $297.7 million in 2008 and estimates to reach $369.4 million in 2015.
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“OSHA has issued a rule forcing employers to pay for most of the personal protective equipment (PPE) used in the workplace,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst P. Nitin Varma. “This ruling was based on the logic that employers tend to select better quality PPE than employees, since they are more aware of the risks in the industry.”
While manufacturing products, companies focus on user comfort so workers wear the protective gear longer. It is vital that workers do so because the products will not be effective unless used for the specified hours. Manufacturers are also hoping to introduce novel earplugs, in spite of the maturity of the market, to increase safety regulation compliance among workers.
One such innovative product is the smart fit earplugs, which uses conforming material technology (CMT) to allow the earplug to change shape with body heat and thereby, ensure all-day comfort. Also, hearing protection system developers have incorporated electronics into earmuffs to offer cell phone capabilities with Bluetooth.
Being a consumer-focused market, all technological developments in terms of communication or sensors in hearing protection are in response to customer demand from various sectors.
Despite these product innovations, the lack of awareness among end users could stifle adoption rates. As workers must shift workplaces frequently, depending on the nature of their jobs, it is unlikely that they will pay attention to the noise levels they are exposed to.
Manufacturers will also have to be wary of the demands for lower prices and lack of product differentiation. To circumvent these issues and stay afloat in the market, they must implement inventive marketing and selling strategies.
“As consumers prefer cost-efficient products, companies should aim to create brand loyalty through effective customer service,” notes Varma. “Companies should also look to enhance product awareness through hearing conservation programs and enhance end-user experience through customer friendly websites.”
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North American Industrial Hearing Protection Products Markets / N559