Ram Agarwal woke up on Thursday morning and drove all the way from Gurgaon to Khan Market to get hold of a high quality mask to breathe easy.
He was not alone at the Being Nirvana (Vogomask) outlet in Khan Market. The store manager, Manish, had to face an irate group of people because the store ran out of stock. About 100 masks were sold within 10 minutes at the outlet.
Delhi is experiencing its worst smog in 17 years due to which air purifiers and masks have seen an uptick in sales post Diwali. “It is the same trend every year. People become aware during the post-Diwali period when air quality is at its worst,” Manish said adding that sales of masks go up from about 20 to 300 per day post Diwali.
India has over 100 air product companies. Online retailer Snapdeal spokesperson said, “Over the last two years, we have seen a rise in the sale of air purifiers and masks, with year on year increase on the quantities sold.”
“This year, even before the onset of Diwali, the concerns about winter pollution were reflected in the heavy purchase of air purifiers, with Delhi residents being among the top buyers. Between pre-Diwali and post-Diwali, we have already seen a seven-fold increase in the number of air purifiers and masks sold on Snapdeal,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that the domestic e-commerce is witnessing a sharp rise in sale of PM 2.5 Micron masks. “Just in the last month, this product has registered a 240% hike in sales. Sales of premium and stylised PM 0.3 micron masks are also on the rise… on Snapdeal.”
Jeff-Bezos-owned Amazon’s India division also said that they have witnessed a three-fold increase in unit sales of air purifiers in October 2016 as compared to the previous month and four-fold increase in unit sales of air purifiers against October 2015.
“About 50% of our orders are coming from customers belonging to cities like Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore apart from other metros,” a company spokesperson said.
However, companies and industry experts believe that air purifiers have still some way to go before the product, which comes under the category of preventive health care, goes mainstream.
“The Indian air pollution combating consumer durables market, according to independent studies is worth about Rs 500 crore, and we are slowly seeing a rise,” Jayati Singh Chakraborti, business head and director marketing of Air division of Philips Personal Health.
She also said that the Indian air purifier market can be divided into three categories — residential, industry and institutional with each having a share of 30%, 20% and 50% share in the category. She noted that prices remain a constraint for the industry.
“Buying behaviour will change towards such products once they feel and see the effects of pollution,” Singh said.