Facemask: A new trend


In the COVID-19 pandemic, the textile and apparel industry was among the severe hit list. Almost collapsing the whole supply-chain and making the stakeholders gasping for breath.

Figure 1: Amid this bleak reality face masks have for the time being turned gold for textiles and apparel manufacturers, presenting unforeseen shares.

Amid this bleak reality face masks – or all types of protective masks – have for the time being turned gold for textiles and apparel manufacturers, presenting unforeseen shares.

Technology companies collaborated with apparel manufacturers, created anti-microbial solutions, water-resistant solutions, etc. drowned the markets with an extensive array of surgical and respiratory masks.

Most importantly, making masks an essential fashion accessory for the masses.

At the beginning of this global pandemic, most countries faced a shortage both for people as well as doctors and healthcare workers.

But the apparel sector came up and started mass producing various types of protective masks. Companies that had never been into mask manufacturing also set up units to manufacture these items as demand grew greatly. For many, face masks became a fashion statement.

The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced the market for respiratory (N95, KN95, FFP2, FFP3, P95, R95) and surgical (3-ply, 4-ply, 5-ply) masks. According to US-based Arizton Advisory & Intelligence, the worldwide face mask market would reach around 90%, contributing over US$2.7 billion incremental revenue between 2019 and 2025, a period in which it will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%.

Figure 2: Face mask expected growth.

With the cumulative usage of face masks for personal use, reusable face masks are observing high demand with market value expected to reach $170 million by 2025.

Also, Allied Market Research projection says the inclusive face mask market size was valued at $1.52 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $2.45 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 4.4% from 2021 to 2027.

According to the latest N95 respirators market research report from Technavio, the COVID-19 pandemic will drive the global N95 respirators market size to grow by $382.90 million from 2020 to 2024, representing an impressive CAGR of over 9%.

Given the current situation it is likely that even after the COVID-19 pandemic is got under control, a large percentage of people are likely to stay wearing masks in crowded places and cities where pollution levels are high, says a study by Dubai-headquartered Future Market Insights (FMI).

The worldwide surgical masks market is forecast to surge past a valuation of US$4.2 billion by 2030. Basic surgical masks and fluid/splash resistant surgical masks are expected to collectively account for 80% of market value, each holding a share of near-equivalent shares.

Europe is set to arrest the lion’s share in market value, with around two-fifths of the market value.

The earth is also witnessing a growing trend of surgical masks for personal use. These factors are expressively boosting sales.

Alarmingly, high demand and prices of face masks have led to the rise of counterfeit brands, says Allied Market Research. It said counterfeit brands are typically available in developing economies with highly price-sensitive customers. This hinders the sale of the original brands there.

According to San Francisco-based Grand View Research, the worldwide one-use face mask market size surpassed US$74.90 billion in the 1st quarter of 2020 and is likely to grow at a CAGR of 53% from 2020 to 2027.

The record spread of the pandemic increased the demand for disposable face masks, which are usually made from nonwoven fabrics and available in a 2 or 3-layer form. The Asia Pacific appeared as the main market for disposable face masks in 2019, having captured a market share of 33.7% in 2019.

For the production of masks, capacity was not difficult, but the COVID-19 pandemic put up logistics difficulties, for which innovation company HeiQ chartered Swiss flights and repurposed those for transporting masks from Asia to Switzerland, according to Hoi Kwan Lam, HeiQ’s Chief Marketing Officer, Product Management.

HeiQ witnessed a lot of demand for its Viroblock chemistry and had to run double shifts and weekends. Since the pandemic started, it has sold the chemistry to treat at least a billion masks globally.

Other companies also came up with such solutions to tackle the pandemic. Canadian firm Stormtech, with a presence in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Russia and the Middle East, launched face masks with the ViralOff technology of Swedish firm Polygiene.

Germany’s Maloja Clothing harnessed its knowledge of functional sports clothing to manufacturing face masks in its units in Portugal and Bulgaria.

Switzerland’s Keller Trading SA and KT Home SA in October launched the reusable Testex community mask, which adheres to the new specifications of the Swiss government and the Swiss National Covid-19 Science Taskforce.

The rising awareness among informed and knowledgeable consumers about the environment and humanity will see some merging in the near future for the face masks market, and only those brands that satisfy these quality and sustainability demands would win.