How big are the German and European markets for masks?
In Germany the market is estimated at between EUR 8 and 12 billion. The entire European market depends on a variety of factors, in particular, the further course of the corona epidemic, the availability of a vaccine and the resulting regulations of the countries concerned. An additional factor is the attitudes of individual populations. Broad popular acceptance of masks like in Japan would mean a huge surge in demand even beyond the 12 billion a year.
What about companies like TRIGEMA that began producing masks as an emergency measure during the crisis? Will they continue to make them or return to their main activities?
There will certainly be a market for reusable masks that are breathable and comfortable to wear, as most cloth masks in fact are. There has also recently been a fashion trend toward attractive designs. Around 40 percent of businesses that are members in German Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry have gotten involved in producing masks. One question is whether someday they will have to prove that their masks provide a certain level of protection. The question whether it will be profitable for textile companies to produce masks is one that will have to be decided individually. Prices have now begun to fall, so competition is definitely increasing.
Do foreign companies stand a chance in this sector?
Absolutely. We have just completed a study of mask production in Germany and summarized our findings in a presentation. We concluded that there are definitely interesting business opportunities for foreign producers. These could be newly founded subsidiaries of companies previously not active in Germany or companies already present in Germany that want to expand their business here. We’re happy to provide companies that are interested with our presentation, discuss the implications and support their projects in Germany.
How great is the risk that mask-wearing requirements will be lifted and that companies will be stuck with large numbers of excess products?
Mask-wearing requirements will surely be lifted when the virus has disappeared, but there’s no telling when that will be at the moment, even if the infection situation has improved. Right now, we have neither approved medications nor a vaccine for the coronavirus. They might come next year, but that’s far from certain. For producers it is important to be highly efficient and competitive even in a normalized market situation. In the long term, this is only possible using advanced technology, which is what the federal German government is explicitly trying to encourage. Companies don’t have to go it alone here. They have a broad spectrum of technological partners at their disposal, including research institutes and cutting-edge local suppliers in innovation clusters. GTAI can assist companies in finding partners to accelerate innovation and diversify risk.
If you would like more information or would like to contact Gabriel Flemming and the other members of the GTAI life sciences team, please click here