The rapid escalation of the facial mask market has been well documented in the pages of Nonwovens Industry during the past year, and one question we have repeatedly asked manufacturers is: “when will enough be too much?” Is this escalation going to ultimately lead to a major crash for masks?
Last week, marketwatch.com reported on a significant drop in masks sales from a number of online portals. Etsy reported masks going from representing 14% of merchandise in the second quarter of 2020 to just 2.5% in the first quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, Amazon data suggests demand for masks began dropping suddenly in mid-March as more people became vaccinated.
As the CDC has issued directives saying fully vaccinated people can be maskless in most situations—and as vaccinations continue to rise around the world—what will become of the mask market? Surely, most consumers have enough masks for the situations where they will continue to be needed like healthcare settings or transportation hubs. Some say (or maybe hope) that many consumers will continue to wear masks even after the threat of Coronavirus is over…judging from the number of people seen riding in cars or walking outdoors masked up, these people may be right…for a while.
For most people, it is likely that their memories will be short and masks will soon be considered an unnecessary nuisance in most situations, and time will tell what this will mean for the thousands upon thousands of masks rolling off production lines. Many will be stockpiled in case of future pandemics, some will be used in healthcare facilities and some will even continue to find their way to consumers’ homes for the occasional visit to the doctor or airplane…until flu season comes back around.