Analyst Insight by Jamie Ko, Head of Consumer Appliances Research, Euromonitor International
Panic hit Singapore last week as its air quality started to deteriorate. The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) soared to hazardous levels during the middle of the week, recording its highest reading in 16 years. Forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, similarly affected air quality over Indonesia and Malaysia, with the latter declaring a state of emergency in Johor. Immediately, this led to a spike in demand for surgical and NIOSH-approved face masks, eye drops as well as home air purifiers, with demand outstripping supply and resulting in many pharmacies and appliance retailers being left with no stock.
Within Asia Pacific, China and South Korea also suffer from poor air quality every spring, with the wind blowing in from the West carrying yellow dust, sand particles and industrial elements to the West coast of both countries. During this period, respiratory ailments and eye irritation complaints skyrocket. Japan, the biggest market for air purifiers in the region, is also exposed to natural elements such as influenza outbreaks and a high pollen count.