With a wealth of technologies on the horizon, new test standards are being written or reviewed and innovative products released for body armor materials and systems. The protective role of body armor against most rifle, submachine gun, and pistol fire continues to offer tailwinds to the market growth. In recent past, key players in the body armor market have been increasing their investment in product innovation to enhance elasticity, ensure far protective systems, and provide improved capabilities while imposing less weight on the user. Additionally, an embrace of R&D has been underway for fibrous fabrics and materials for soft body armor. Increasing demand for a huge range of personal protective equipment and armored vehicles in line with strong global focus on counterterrorism and improved battlefield effectiveness significantly contributes to the growth of the body armor market.

In the current scenario, the coronavirus outbreak is expected to result in grave downturn in various markets related to defense industry and the body armor market is no exception. While it is still early to determine whether the market will be flat, see sales slump, or grow unaffected by the pandemic, stakeholders must analyze the major impact points and their potential to affect production, supply chain and bottom lines.

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The local or regional body armor markets affected the outbreak and stakeholders dependent on the supply chain located in affected countries such as the U.S., China, and India will be the immediate victims of the pandemic. Additionally, several governments are targeted towards deprioritizing defense spending while focusing on expansion of healthcare facilities. This, in turn, is expected to create a hindrance in the body armor market growth. While innovations have been forthcoming among market players to set their products apart from the competition, commercialization of body armor is characterized by extensive testing and evaluation. However, the current scenario does not augur well with such business development practices.

Body Armor Market – Longer-term Outlook Remains Positive

While tradition assumptions and forecast statistics of the body armor market are rendered irrelevant due to disruption of the current outbreak, key players must focus on future outlook of the market. Most stakeholders have business continuity plans and the trend of customization of body armor for mission-specific requirements will work in the favor of the market growth.

North America contributed 1/3rd of the total sales of body armor in 2019 and will continue to carve out a larger size of the global market value. In the U.S. market, the current situation appears less dire with demand supported by budgeted government spending on the defense industry. Heightened scope of application among law enforcement officers, security personnel, and civilians will also continue to open new avenues for revenue growth. In Asia Pacific, increasing warfare and cross border disputes remains key growth influencer of the body armor market. Additionally, several countries in the region are expected to increase their military recruitment and subsequently lead to surge in the adoption of body armor. Material advances in body armor are generally driven by the need for weight and cost reduction.

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Ultra-High Molecular Weight PolyEthylene (UHMWPE) fibers and fabrics stayed in demand against other materials for body armor, owing to their excellent ballistic performance against high-velocity fragments. However, significant advancements in technologies and modern initiatives are prompting military forces and security agencies to opt for the latest protective gear. Manufacturers are thus hard-pressed to invest in advanced materials and smart textiles to enable the development of different body armor concepts and increase the levels of protection.

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