Coronavirus scare: Online face mask demand reaches its peak

Massive public reaction to Coronvirus threat in India has led to a spike of 1024 percent in online searches for face masks, reveals SEMrush study

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New Delhi: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month news about the latest coronavirus epidemic has undoubtedly reached you. A SEMrush study has captured the extent of the Indian public’s awareness about coronavirus and the steps it is taking to prevent infection.

Awareness about coronavirus has reached millions across India. SEMrush found that the number of times the word “coronavirus” was searched online grew an astounding 2.54 lakh percent from December 2019 to January 2020. In December 2019, the term “coronavirus” was searched a mere 2,400 times, and this number spiked to a massive 61 lakh in January 2020. The words “coronavirus symptoms” were searched a massive 12.2 lakh times in January 2020 from a mere 40 in December 2019. The SEMrush study highlights that news about the coronavirus is being disseminated far and wide by the Indian media. The public is aware of the origins of the Coronavius. The third most searched for keyword related to the virus was “china virus” showing that many who don’t know the name coronavirus, know its origins lies in China.

The keywords, “coronavirus disease”, “coronavirus treatment”, “coronavirus cause”, “coronavirus infection”, “coronavirus vaccine”, “coronavirus diagnosis”, and “novel coronavirus” were the other top searched for keywords related to coronavirus.  Each keyword was searched between 1 lakh and 30 thousand times in January.

The public also searched for ways to prevent infection. Online searches with keyword “n95 mask”, “n95 mask price”, and “3m n95 mask” rose an astonishing 1017%, 3002%, and 1962% respectively in January compared to December. The SEMrush study shows there was reasonable awareness about the n95 face mask before the coronavirus epidemic. The percent increase in the keyword “n95 mask” was relatively low compared to the percent increase for other keywords because it was searched for a considerable number of times in December.

Other mask related keywords included “n95 respirator mask”, “n95 pollution mask”, “n95 face mask”, “medical mask”, “n95 mask uses”, “n95 mask price in India”, and “n95 mask reusable”.  Each keyword was searched between 7,500 and 700 times. Notably searches with the keywords “n95 respirator mask” increased a whopping 10400% times since December 2019.

Speaking about the study, Mr Fernando Angulo, Head of Communications – SEMrush said, “Our study demonstrates that Indians actively try to protect themselves from epidemics, even when their epicentre is distant and the possibility of infection relatively low. The SEMrush study also captured data showing the kind of protective equipment Indians turn to protect themselves from airborne viruses. The n95 face mask was a relatively unknown product before the coronavirus epidemic; today, it is less so. The reason behind the massive increase in the number of times the n95 mask is being searched for is apparent, Indians concerned about the danger posed by coronavirus are scouting for the best preventative tool.”