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Mask Making in India: An Investigation into its future after the Pandemic


Nothing represents the Covid-19 pandemic and its implications better than the mask, and no item better justifies the world into which the pandemic showed up. Over the past two years, the mask sang out to our most profound consumeristic driving forces. Without medication or immunization, the mask is the solitary material security we can get against the coronavirus. It is an item, and we've been trained like seals to respond to such products. One mask sales representative depicted it as "a crazy house", another as "the craziest market I've at any point seen". This research paper, by employing a descriptive narrative, aims to understand if such a crazy drive for masks and the high demand for the product is just a wave with short term consequences or a new normal with long term implications. It involves a PESTLE analysis, Porter’s five forces and the 7P of the marketing mix. The quantitative analysis will involve the profit share, market value and revenue changes in companies that extended their business into mask markets. The results of the analysis will include the sudden drop in the market value of masks, and sooner the invisibility of the market going back to the single market of surgical masks keeping in mind the limitations of the market and environment volatility with a full-fledged immunization drive.

Keywords: Masks, COVID pandemic, market value, mask markets, descriptive statistics.


As indicated by the report distributed by Allied Market Research, the Indian surgical masks market created $71.73 million over the period of the year 2019 and is estimated to accumulate $157.13 million by the year 2027, thus seeing a CAGR(Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 10.3% from 2020 to 2027. The report offers a broad investigation of changing business sector patterns, key procedures to succeed, top areas for speculation, key variables, supply chain, and market background. The report offers a broad examination of changing business sector patterns, key winning procedures, top venture pockets, key sectors, supply chain, and its future expectations.

Considering the distribution channel of the mask making industry amongst its consumers, the pharmacy section represented the most noteworthy piece of the pie in 2019, adding to more than 66% of the total, and is required to keep up its prevailing offer by 2027. Also, the online store fragment or the E-commerce with its growing role and hold on the market is projected to depict the quickest CAGR of 12.1% during the estimated time frame.

In light of the demand channel which majorly includes research laboratories, pharmaceuticals and hospitals, the B2B(Business-to-business) fragment represented the most elevated piece of the pie, contributing for almost three-fifths of the overall share in 2019, and will proceed with its leadership position during the estimated time frame. Additionally, this section is projected to depict the biggest CAGR of 10.7% from 2020 to 2027. The report additionally breaks down sections including B2C and B2G (Business-to-Government).

Scheme of the paper

The first part of the paper gives a brief introduction to the industry and establishes the research objectives along with the scope of the study. The second section of the paper delves into various qualitative analyses in the form of models such as PESTLE analysis, 7Ps of the marketing mix and Porter’s five forces to help us understand how the industry is structured and its probable future. The third part includes basic quantitative analysis for providing an all-around understanding by using other descriptive statistics such as annual revenue and market share. The final section gives a summary of the findings and a conclusion of the paper.

Scope of study

The mask-making industry was almost forgotten by a layman but now has become the business of time. The mask has been a major part of our lives for over a year now and has created its own stronghold over the market as various companies look to expand their business into the same. Understanding the nature and the future of this market will help us understand its importance in the current market as well as its relevance in future market developments.

Theoretical background

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the following consequences:

  • There has been an impressive expansion in the popularity of face masks among medical care labourers and residents as a prudent step against disease. An abrupt expansion of the industry and its popularity during the pandemic encouraged pharmaceuticals to use up the stockpile of masks which is a common phenomenon in any other period. The stocks saw a paradigm 120% increase in sales.

  • The ascent in the number of cases and the foundation of the new COVID-19 help communities majorly the frontline workers bring about the ascent in popularity for surgical masks for Healthcare Associated Infections(HAIs) during therapies.

  • The interest in surgical masks has emerged amongst the overall public because of the adequacy and wellbeing offered to them by the masks. Besides, it is obligatory to wear masks when outside the house. Along these lines, the interest has been expanded altogether.

Research Questions

The major research questions that the paper aims to answer are:

  • Is the mask making industry a short term consequence or a long-term implication?

  • What will happen to the mask making industry after the end of the pandemic?

  • What effect has mask-making had on small entrepreneurship ideas?

  • What will be the future of big market giants once the market for masks becomes a dead end?

Literature Review

The existing literature speaks about the evolution of the mask making industry and the condition of the healthcare system and masks supply chains during the pandemic. The literature gap exists between the current mask making industry and an implied future. This research paper bridges the gap between the current and future of the industry with evidence from the past.

  • The Evolution of the Surgical Mask: Filtering Efficiency Versus Effectiveness: This research paper speaks about the evolution of masks that began as a shield to protect any wound from microorganisms in the nose and mouth and have now become a current trend. It helped the research paper in determining a similar path and flow of events for further advancements in the industry.

  • Exploring the N95 and Surgical Mask Supply in U.S. Nursing Homes During COVID-19: This research paper primarily focuses on the healthcare system in the US and their methods to provide availability, accessibility and affordability of masks during the Covid 19 pandemic. Insights from this paper have been used to compare the situation in India as covered under the qualitative models.

  • Industry 4.0 technologies and their applications in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic: This paper speaks about the various technological and digital transformations that countries all over the world can expect from the fourth Industrial Revolution that shall be fuelled by the Covid crisis. It specifies in various sections, the change in the role of the surgical mask making industry that has been used to validate several points in the paper.

  • Covid-19 face masks: A potential source of microplastic fibres in the environment: It throws light on the new environmental challenges that the world has been experiencing. The large production of non-disposable masks needs to be provided ample production and awareness regarding the disposable masks is a major step in the change. The details from the same have been used in the PESTLE analysis.

Research Methodology

The research involves both qualitative as well as quantitative analysis. Various questions regarding the short- or long-term implications and the future of the mask making industry are answered through critical analysis in the form of three models. They are PESTLE analysis that will explain the environment of the mask making market, Porter's five forces which speak about competitions and market share and the 7P of the marketing mix speaks about specific target variables during mask marketing. The quantitative analysis will provide a deeper understanding of the revenue, market share and profits through trendline analysis and line graphs.


Qualitative analysis

PESTLE Analysis:

  • Political Factors: Masks are characterised by significant political impact. When certain rules and social norms are backed by a political party, leader, or an entire government, then adherence to such kind of behaviour has a larger possibility of occurrence. When these norms are further backed through laws and other legal bills then it tends to acquire a larger market. On April 9th, 2020 various states such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh made face masks mandatory for people stepping outside their homes, issued in exercise of powers under Section 34 of Disaster Management Act, 2005. Furthermore, these two factors largely expanded the market in a very short period. Since not wearing a mask invited punishment, it became a common man’s business and was no longer restricted to just surgical purposes.

  • Economic Factors: No doubt, the mask markets have been seeing immense profits. However, two different trends emerged during the pandemic. Firstly, there was a large wave of campaigning regarding the cloth masks which could be produced at home, drastically reducing the number of mask purchases. Secondly, it led to innovations by many entrepreneurs’ ideas such as Maytri Mask Abhiyan, CrAdLE- EEDI and Deshpande Foundation. A large number of youth-run organisations as mentioned above also started working towards the same. NGOs played an immense role in conducting awareness campaigns as well as training sessions for mask making. Such developments resulted in a sudden decrease in the income for the mask making industry since the first month of the pandemic. However, the market has ever since been profit-driven.

  • Social Factors: The COVID 19 pandemic was not only accompanied by a new set of rules and regulations but a large amount of social unity to fight against the pandemic. Various gestures by the government such as clapping and bell-ringing from balconies to thank the frontline workers fighting the pandemic saw a large number of participants across the country. A large amount of social pressure that comes from disobeying the laws and disrespect to the government authorities also played an important role in mask usage during the pandemic. What was considered abnormal once is now a social stigma.

  • Technological Factors: A large amount of growth in the mask-making industry has attracted drastic technological changes. The scope of technology for masks has been extremely demanding with its maximum usage and basic structure making it a ground for technological revolutions. The industry also sees immense scope for further technological development. Various companies have proposed plans for Bluetooth and other AI facilities that enable masks for voice recognition and music, which is an extreme step in the innovation sphere.

  • Legal Factors: As discussed previously, when a particular social norm is backed by law, then such a social norm will automatically have much more acceptance considering the awards and punishments it has in store. Therefore, when regulations such as compulsory masks for entry were imposed, the situation was estimated to be serious and therefore, led to a huge expansion of the mask making industry which was previously seen only for surgical purposes.

  • Environmental Factors: The mask-making industry previously only included surgical masks consisting of only disposable masks that were mostly made of non-biodegradable materials causing high waste generation. The pandemic has not brought about technological innovations, but it also introduced eco-friendly products such as reusable and recyclable masks such as cloth masks that has been encouraged throughout the country.

7Ps of marketing

  • Product: The mask as a product, is an extremely important resource in the present day. It has become more than just an accessory, but an absolute necessity. No doubt the demand for mask has been extremely elastic with respect to price.

  • Place: Another noteworthy feature is that the requirement of masks is not narrowed down to a particular country or a state. It is a phenomenon across the world and the demand exists equally throughout the country.

  • Price: The prices of the masks are however extremely related to the features that come along with the mask. Considering two features of an absolute necessity, and elastic demand, mask prices have seen a significant rise but the range of prices has been more or less neutral. The range of prices before the pandemic was between 12-19 rupees which are currently at 39-45 rupees considering the elasticity of demand.

  • Promotion: The promotion is the last card to play. Considering the wave of the COVID pandemic masks need no promotion until it comes down to grand features and wholesale prices. The demand for masks has been higher than ever requiring the least promotion and maximum awareness.

  • Physical Evidence: Physical evidence mainly refers to the working, packaging and usage of the product that defines and determines one’s decision making. Mask as already categorised, is now a necessity and requires no significant physical evidence for the same regarding its usage. It’s a common sight these days.

  • People: Another important feature comes from the fact that masks are no longer restricted to a particular age group. They range from a five-year-old to a ninety year. The market is therefore not restricted to its consumers in any way.

  • Processes: Mask making is an industry and its processes range from extremely simple cloth masks to complex designs depending on the requirements. Over the last year, various paradigm shifts in demand have pushed for wholesale mask production with the least human interaction due to safety purposes.

Quantitative analysis:

Diagram 1

The Indian surgical mask market was estimated at $58 million during 2017 and is relied upon to reach $95 million by 2025, enrolling a CAGR of 6.1% from 2018 to 2025. Surgical masks are made utilizing manufactured material like polypropylene texture or dispensable cloth. They are normally utilized in surgeries, filling in as an obstruction to microorganisms and to help forestall cross-pollution during surgeries.

The key factors as mentioned in Allied Market research has helped the development of the Indian surgical mask market with fast advancements for nonwovens creation innovation, expansion in concentration toward Hospital Associated Infections(HAIs), and improvement in medical services framework and administrations. Furthermore, the flood in extra cash due to high government expenditure, growth in wellbeing mindfulness, and huge expansions in the geriatric populace supplement the market development. The expansion in the prevalence of less intrusive medical procedures over the years blocks the development of this market. On the other hand, developments in nanotechnology and its expanded use in clinical nonwoven disposables creation are expected to set out rewarding open doors for a market extension soon due to its high technology and eco-friendly nature.

In light of the item, the India mask market is sorted into the essential surgical mask, against haze surgical mask, liquid/sprinkle safe careful cover, N95 cover, and others. The fundamental surgical mask portion was the most noteworthy supporter of the market in 2017, and is expected to keep up its strength all through the estimated period. Nonetheless, the counter haze careful cover fragment is required to enrol a higher development rate from 2018 to 2025, attributable to the ascend in the maturing populace and an advancement concerning item improvement. In view of the distribution channel, India’s surgical mask market is isolated into medical clinics and centres, pharmacies, and online stores. Pharmacies were the most predominant channel for the dissemination of surgical masks and have the biggest piece of the pie in the Indian careful cover market followed by online stores.

With the evolving market for mask making industry and elastic demand, the clinical face mask market is expected to develop at a CAGR of more than 26% during the time frame 2019–2025. The high population of the country and slow vaccination drives further support the point.

Worldwide clinical mask market

The worldwide clinical face covers market is required to arrive at a unit shipment of around 53 billion by 2020 with a high Y-o-Y(Year-over-year) development pace of around 430% because of the new COVID-19 pandemic.

As a successful preventive measure to stop Covid, wearing clinical face masks with legitimate cleanliness practice has acquired an up-take across the globe.

Regarding both volume shipment and income, Indian clinical face masks added to the greatest worldwide clinical face covers of the overall industry in 2019.

Developing inclination for straightforward, 3-D printed clinical face veils, combined with the presentation of inventive composite texture material is one of the key elements expected to drive the market development during the estimated time frame.

Expanding on the practice of giving clinical face covers for medical service labourers is further adding to the development of the worldwide clinical face masks market.

Europe is driving the worldwide market and represented a volume portion of around 30% in 2019, trailed by other key countries.

Diagram 2:

Apart from just understanding the revenue and sales, it is also important to understand the consumer market share. Consumer market share helps us dig deep into the demand for masks and their existence even after the end of the pandemic. Stipulating that the pandemic will see an end by the year 2025, we can see the graphs and the change in the market share of the consumers. Most of the end-users will be research laboratories and hospitals. Even though we do not see a large difference in number, the reason behind such a demand is different in the two cases.

Entrepreneurship during the pandemic

Various business visionaries such as Maythri Mask Abhiyan, CrAdLE- IIDE and Deshpande foundation based in rural areas of the nation have taken to assembling facemasks in the midst of diminishing interest for their standard products in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Around, 500 country business visionaries have so far produced and sold 3.5 lakh such covers under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Program (SVEP). They produce around 2,500 face masks each day for wellbeing experts, policemen, the media workforce and cleaning staffs. In West Bengal, 38 businesses fabricate nearly 600 covers a day in squares of Dinhata, Pathar Pratima and Manikchak which are various regions of the state. 200 ladies in the twin urban communities of Hubballi-Dharwad came together to shape a start-up that makes masks for the fight against Covid 19 are currently brimming with orders. With their spouses being laid off or confronting compensation cuts in the midst of the lockdown, these ladies chose to enhance the family pay through another endeavour. The Deshpande Foundation has helped provide employment to a large number of people and particularly encouraged women entrepreneurship. Through various examples such as these, we see that there has been a rise in business minds and opportunities among the youth and women in particular.

Large scale businesses and their contribution

The Coronavirus pandemic is constraining organizations gazing at a disheartening future to enter the field of what they term "covid products". In India, businesses that have endured misfortunes are attempting to think inventively, either by taking a gander at new items or altering their current ones. Be it modified face masks and face safeguards or computerized infrared thermometers and disinfecting sanitisers. Various businesses such as Raymond and Taneira have taken up mask making as a side-line business that will remain least affected considering the scope of their main business lines.


The conclusions for the paper can be categorised into the following:

Short term consequences: Based on the quantitative analysis, we understand that there will be a change in the market share of masks on the consumer's front and a paradigm shift in its revenue and demand immediately after the pandemic.

Long term consequences: The three major components that affect the industry in the long term are going to be the environmental, technological and legal aspects, bringing changes in the mask-making industry considering the conclusions from PESTLE and other qualitative analysis.

Effect on entrepreneurship: Based on the qualitative analysis we also concur that the mask making industry has had an effect on entrepreneurial ideas even though there has been a decrease in the availability of capital. A large number of NGOs and support organisations have come up during this period, particularly to reach the goals of mask manufacturing.

Supply chain consequences: For all the large companies, mask making was made a part of their supply chain during the pandemic. However, it is said to have extremely minute consequences considering that the product will be side-lined after the pandemic since it won’t be their main line of business.


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