Global sales of face masks surged during the Covid-19 pandemic. While that is not surprising given that mask mandates were at least temporarily instated in large parts of the world to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, the scale of the increase and the numbers behind it are quite eye-popping.According to estimates from Statista Consumer Market Insights, global mask sales, including surgical masks as well as respirators (e.g. N95) and cloth masks surged from 12.5 billion in 2019, when their use was mostly limited to medical personnel, to 378.9 billion in 2020. That’s a 30-fold increase, equating to almost 50 masks per person across the globe.
Following a surge in prices in 2020, when demand far outstretched supply and producers were scrambling to ramp up production of cheap face masks, prices dropped in 2021, explaining why revenue nearly halved from 2020 to 2021 despite a further increase in unit sales. For 2022, Statista’s analysts see revenue and unit sales at a fraction on 2020/2021 levels as many countries dropped mask mandates and many people returned to their pre-pandemic habits. For the upcoming years, Statista anticipates that the number of people wearing face masks will drop further and that their use will largely become confined to members of the medical community and the clinically vulnerable again. That is unless a new dangerous variant arises or another epidemic/pandemic occurs.