Tiny particles containing pathogens or other foreign particles are released into the air when a patient or person sneezes, coughs, or speaks. This is avoided by using face masks, which cover the user's mouth and nose. Face masks can block the release of virus-filled droplets into the air when the user coughs or sneezes. Face masks can be classified as whole, half, and quarter. A full mask completely encloses the face, whereas a half mask extends from the chin to the top of the nose, and a quarter mask extends from the nose to the top of the chin. The breathing resistance varies proportionally to the density of the mask material used.
Medical-grade face masks are used by people working in healthcare settings. They are built with high-quality filtering materials to prevent the spread of infectious particles. Similarly, face masks used in industries are made per the requirement of the end-users to filter the oil content in the air and the odor in the air, thereby safeguarding the user. These face masks are available online and offline in retail channels such as hospital pharmacies, supermarkets, hypermarkets, and convenience stores.
Surgical services have been recognized as an essential element of the public healthcare system for a long time. The number of surgeries performed also increases with the incidence/prevalence of various acute and chronic diseases. According to the WHO, approximately 234 million major surgical procedures are performed every year globally. Several significant factors contributing to the growing number of surgeries include the rising geriatric population, more options for minimally invasive surgery, and technological advancements in surgical procedures.
Furthermore, the rate of infections developing after surgery and surgical site injuries (SSI) are increasing at a proportional rate to the larger procedural volume of surgeries performed globally. SSI is one of the most common and costly post-operative complications that can lead to increased morbidity, mortality, length of stay, hospital readmission, and hospital costs. In addition, surgeries, including orthopedic, laparoscopic, bariatric, gynecological, and gastrointestinal (GI), largely accounted for the rising volume of surgical procedures worldwide. Further, acute burns and trauma cases are also rising rapidly worldwide. Such factors are estimated to boost the market's growth.
Since the pandemic started, many companies have begun producing masks, including car makers like BMW, which has started manufacturing millions of masks to protect their staff and other people against the virus. Many entrepreneurs have started making masks that must be improved to meet international standards and market demand. Some countries like the US, Spain, and Turkey have rejected some of the batches of facial masks citing poor quality.
In addition, many companies are entering the mask manufacturing segment due to the high market demand and to utilize the existing growth opportunity. Producing face masks requires no specialized manufacturing practices or highly skilled labor. Most processes are automated since medical masks are made using automated manufacturing devices, and only the packaging process requires laborers. This has prompted many textile manufacturing companies and other players to quickly shift to face mask manufacturing, which has fueled the face mask market globally.
Currently, manufacturers of medical face masks are facing significant challenges with supply shortages and the high cost of raw materials for the production process. Masks are generally made from melt-blown fabric to block the spread of droplets. In March 2020, WHO called for a 40% increase in mask manufacturing globally as it is estimated that approximately 89 million medical masks are needed monthly for medical professionals fighting on the frontlines against COVID-19. Due to the rising demand for medical face masks, manufacturers face a massive challenge as equipment prices, raw materials, and labor have jumped quickly. In addition, the need for raw materials for medical face masks is also emerging with the rising demand, hindering the market's growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been contained globally; however, the human population will not be immune to this infection in the future. Face masks are considered significant products to avoid spreading COVID-19 disease. Single-face masks were employed during the initial COVID-19 wave in 2020; nevertheless, multiple COVID-19 versions began to spread among other countries, significantly impacting the populace. The aerosols were an essential route for the infection to spread among people. This prompted researchers to develop solutions like double masks to reduce the penetration of the infection-spreading aerosols.
Healthcare professionals and frontline workers across the globe largely followed this trend. This majorly increased the usage of face masks worldwide—the layers of a mask help to increase its filtration power. The CDC recommends using a face mask with at least two or three layers of fabric. Adding a second mask can improve filtration even more. This is because it effectively doubles the layers of material that virus-containing respiratory droplets must travel through before reaching the user's face and mouth. Thus, double masking is expected to create tremendous opportunities for market growth.
The global face mask market is bifurcated into the service, modality, phase, application, and end-user.
Based on product type, the global face mask market is divided into surgical, respirator, and cloth masks. Health professionals majorly use surgical masks during healthcare procedures. The sales of surgical masks are regulated by authorities and are considered for single-time use only. Once the mask is damaged or soiled, or if breathing becomes difficult through the mask, the surgical mask should be removed, discarded safely, and replaced with a new one to avoid any further contamination.
Based on material, the global face mask market is bifurcated into synthetic and natural. Synthetic face masks are made from polypropylene material, also commonly used in other manufacturing platforms like automotive manufacturing, furniture assembly, and the aerospace industry. During the pandemic, when the other manufacturing segments witnessed a slowdown, the demand for this material to manufacture face masks was not so high, but its availability was easy.
Based on usage, the global face mask market is bifurcated into disposable and reusable face masks. Disposable face masks are popular among healthcare professionals who constantly attend to patients or perform surgeries. These masks protect healthcare professionals from harmful bacteria from aerosols and liquid droplets. Viruses or harmful bacteria are spread through body fluids or infectious blood. Thus, these masks serve as protective barriers and help eliminate or reduce the chances of cross-contamination among surgeons and patients.
Based on the distribution channel, the global face mask market is divided into B2B/institutional, retail, and online. B2B is one of the most preferred distribution channels. The face mask manufacturers conduct research in product development, innovate, and manufacture disposable gloves. In addition to manufacturing, these companies also distribute their products to large distributors/institutions that distribute them to hospitals, labs, shops, online platforms, and other end-users.
Based on end-user, the global face mask market is divided into healthcare, industrial, individual, and government/others. Healthcare is the largest consumer of face masks. During the COVID-19 and pre-COVID-19 times, the increased number of surgeries, the growing number of healthcare settings, and the rising number of safety standards for healthcare professionals in healthcare settings have increased the usage of face masks in the healthcare segment.
Based on region, the global face mask market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Europe is home to a large number of developed and developing countries, and the usage of face masks is high in this region due to multiple factors like the growing food and beverage industry, increased awareness among end-users regarding personal safety, and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Some countries like Spain and Italy are primarily famous for their global food industry. These countries across the globe export large volumes of packed foods. The food industries have recommended that workers wear face masks to avoid contamination of food products since there have been many cross-contamination issues in the past few years. In addition, Germany is known for its manufacturing sector, especially in the automobile, machine building, chemical, and food processing industries. Germany is home to more than 2,900 chemical manufacturing industries that demand the usage of safety masks that are resistant to oils and toxic smells, thereby providing very high safety to the users. These industrial activities require the usage of face masks directly or indirectly, thereby accelerating the usage of face masks in this region.
The number of surgeries performed in the North American region is increasing due to the developed healthcare infrastructure and proportionate rise in the geriatric population, demanding more surgeries. This has drastically increased the patient pool requiring effective treatment and surgical procedures. This is expected to propel the demand for medical-grade face masks used by healthcare professionals. The market is expected to increase during the forecast period due to various other technological developments driving the number of surgeries in this region. Furthermore, technological advancements such as robotic assistance during surgeries enable physicians to handle complex surgeries with reduced risks and increased success rates. This is one of the major factors driving the number of surgeries in the North American market.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to a large population due to the presence of major countries like China and India. A majority of the countries in this region are developing nations. The usage of face masks is moderate in this region; however, due to the large population, the volume of face masks used is very high. Countries like Japan have witnessed multiple outbreaks of SARS in the past, prompting the people in these countries to wear face masks regularly over the past few years. Similarly, in China, a large percentage of the population wears face masks for cosmetic purposes. This drastically increases the usage of face masks in the country, usually made up of cloth and mixed with other materials. In addition, countries like India and China are witnessing an industrial revolution, drastically increasing air pollution. Hence, many people suffer from various respiratory diseases and use face masks as a part of their self-care regimen. This trend is driving the usage of face masks in these countries.
Latin America is home to developing countries with high demand for face masks in this region. The region has witnessed multiple pandemic conditions, improving the healthcare segment's ability to handle pandemics or disease outbreaks. Countries like Brazil and Mexico are considered to be the hotspots for the spread of COVID-19 infections in this region.
The Middle East is home to more than 60 of the largest oil refineries in the world. In addition, the country's oil & gas sector accounted for about 50% of the GDP. Countries like South Africa majorly depend on their oil refineries. Around 70% of the country's export earnings are from the oil & gas sector, accounting for approximately 17% of the world's petroleum reserves. Many workers are involved in the mining industries in this region and are provided with face masks in the workplace for their safety.
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