Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Covid-19: Surge in face mask sales on some e-commerce sites but no panic-buying seen at stores

SINGAPORE — Some online retailers are seeing an immediate spike in the sales of face masks following the authorities' new guidance on the use of masks with “good filtration capabilities”.

Covid-19: Surge in face mask sales on some e-commerce sites but no panic-buying seen at stores

A woman shopping for face masks at a Guardian pharmacy outlet at Northpoint City shopping mall on May 18, 2021. Some online sellers are reporting a spike in the sale of face masks after the authorities recommended wearing masks with better filtration.

SINGAPORE — Some online retailers are seeing an immediate spike in the sales of face masks following the authorities' new guidance on the use of masks with “good filtration capabilities”.

Sales of face masks on shopping website Qoo10 surged 91 per cent between 7pm and 9pm on Tuesday (May 18), while orders jumped 11 times on Lazada in the first two hours after the announcement, compared with the same period over the last two weeks.

Things were, however, a lot more subdued at the physical stores that TODAY visited.

On Tuesday, the Government recommended the public use masks with "good filtration capability", such as single-use surgical masks or reusable ones made of at least two layers of fabric and with at least 95 per cent bacterial filtration capability.

The Ministry of Health said that recent clusters in Singapore suggest a higher level of transmission likely caused by new variants of the coronavirus.

“A mask with better protection, such as those with better filtration efficiency, will help to mitigate the increased risks of transmission and infection,” it said in a press release.

Just one hour after the announcement was released to the public at around 6pm, sales of face masks started surging on their platforms, online retailers told TODAY.

A Qoo10 spokesperson said that its top five keyword searches were all related to masks.

Popular sellers on the platform were seeing their sales doubling after the announcement.

“As compared to the same day in January 2021, one listing has seen a 2.5 times increase in sales,” the Qoo10 spokesperson said..

Lazada said: “We urge customers to buy responsibly and only what they need, and we are working with our sellers to ensure there are enough stocks.’’

Mr Zhou Junjie, the chief commercial officer at Shopee, said that it has observed a consistently robust level of traffic and transaction volumes of face masks during this period.

“We want to ensure that masks, along with other health-related products and essential household items are readily accessible to our consumers,” he added.

It was, however, a very different picture at the physical stores.

When TODAY checked out pharmacies at several malls across the island, there was no panic-buying of surgical masks evident.

Shoppers interviewed said that there was no need to rush to stock up on masks.

Mr Eric Liu, a 42-year-old civil servant, believes that there is an ample supply of masks.

“Most of us now are also working from home. From tomorrow onwards, students also stay home. So there's no immediate rush to stock up on masks,” he said.

There were a few, however, who bought supplies after hearing about the authorities’ new guidance on masks.

Mr Suzi Ahmad, a 35-year-old executive, said: “I think it's important to stock up on masks for safety purposes. I wear cloth masks right now but will look into masks with good filtration capabilities.”

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong also said on Tuesday that the public need not rush to buy masks because Singapore has a “significant stockpile" of disposable surgical masks.

Related topics

Covid-19 masks e-commerce online retail

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa