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Wetsuits Market size is anticipated to register noteworthy gains from 2023 to 2032, owing to surging inclination of people towards water sports and underwater activities. Growing tourist activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have created significant opportunities for the market growth.
The industry growth is also driven by growing economic affluence of people in developed and developing economies. Typically, this apparel is manufactured using foamed neoprene bubbles, which provides the best possible buoyancy, abrasion resistance, and thermal insulation.
Moreover, rising innovations in the industry are expected to further pave the way for wetsuits market growth. To cite an instance, in April 2021, Aqualung, a global manufacturer and designer of water and dive sports gear unveiled its all-new new XSCAPE collection which features a 100% neoprene-free wetsuit and a rash guard manufactured using sustainable materials. This launch shows the company’s focus on ocean discovery, sustainability, and innovation.
In terms of application, the wetsuits market from the surfing segment is slated to account for a considerable market share by 2032. Annually, nearly 1.73 million people go surfing in the U.S. alone, presenting a substantial customer pool for the market. Wetsuits are generally worn by surfers, swimmers, and divers who swim in cold water. These suits trap a thin layer of water between the wearer’s skin and the suit to insulate the swimmers and retain their body heat, which helps them avoid hypothermia, and spend more time in the water.
The lightweight and flexibility nature of surfing wetsuits, specifically around the shoulders and arms, make them ideal for such rigorous activities. The neoprene used in such suits differs from that used in costumes for scuba diving.
with respect to type, the rising adoption of semi-dry wetsuits for underwater diving activities is likely to further fuel wetsuits market growth. In these suits, the neoprene is lined with a fabric that enhances its strength, making it easier to slide. The thickness of a neoprene lining on the inside of a semi-dry wetsuit ensures enhanced heat retention. The insulating properties of these apparels help stay the diver warm underwater as they are made specifically for cold water and deep diving.
Asia Pacific wetsuits industry is poised to show notable gains through 2032, on account of growing spending on leisure activities in the region. In fact, as per IBEF, the tourism industry in India is expected to expand by over USD 125 billion by 2027. With beaches being the most popular tourist attractions in APAC, and water sports being much more affordable, the adoption of wetsuits is likely to go up in the region.
Some of the leading suppliers in the wetsuits market include O'Neill, Quiksilver, Patagonia Inc., Buell Wetsuits and Surf, Rip Curl (Rip Curl Group Pty Ltd), Billabong International Limited, and Helly Hansen (Canadian Tire), among others. Many of these companies are emphasizing facility expansions, product diversification, and mergers and acquisition strategies to gain a competitive advantage.
For instance, in earlier 2021, Rip Curl, a leading wetsuit supplier, partnered with TerraCycle, a US-based prominent recycling firm to launch a ’Wetsuit Take Back Recycling Program’ for helping surfers in Australia recycle the surf branded wetsuits across the country.
In addition, in February 2020, another leading wetsuits supplier, O’Neill, launched its ‘First Name in the Water’ Campaign, which is a collection of cinematography shots taken by surfers from different parts of the world that promotes the sport and in-turn fosters product adoption.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has imparted a negative effect on the wetsuits business as Russia is a prominent exporter of neoprene. In 2020, Russia exported synthetic rubber worth over USD 1.34 billion, being the 6th largest exporter of synthetic rubber worldwide. However, the war, and the subsequent global sanctions on Russia have severely disrupted export links of the material.
Many countries are imposing immense geopolitical pressure on Russia to bring the conflict to an end, which may spur exports again. Furthermore, global efforts to find alternate raw material suppliers is likely to lead to the country lose its leading exporter position in the world.