Gasping for air, Delhi rushes to stock up on purifiers and masks


Air purifiers, indoor plants, N-95 masks, immunity boosters and anti-allergy medicines are flying off the shelves in the national capital and its neighbourhood, as residents seek to protect themselves from toxic air with the pollution level ranging from very poor to severe in the region.

Manufacturers of these products that are believed to help mitigate the effects of pollution said they have seen as much as a 25-30% increase in sales in recent weeks compared with last year. With no signs of any major improvement in air quality, they expect sales to remain strong in the coming weeks as well, and some of them have stepped up advertising to make the most of the demand.

Demand for air purifiers is directly proportional to the air quality index, said Kartik Singhal, founder of O2 Cure that sells a range of purifiers and filters.

“Use of air purifiers in a closed environment can be beneficial,” said Karan Madan, a pulmonologist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.

Sales of air purifiers increase during the pollution months as consumers can see and experience the effects, said Pooja Baid, head of marketing at Philips Domestic Appliances India.


According to her, there is increasing demand now for WiFi-enabled air purifiers.

Amway India has seen a 32% increase in the sales of air purifiers in the last two months, as compared to the same time last year, the direct selling company’s chief marketing officer, Ajay Khanna, said.

Also in high demand are indoor plants that are known to have air-purifying capabilities.

Ferns N Petals, a retailer of gifts including flowers and plants, is seeing a 25-30% jump in orders for indoor air-purifying plants over last week, chief executive Pawan Gadia said.

‘Remain Indoors’

Plants that are seeing strong sales include snake plants, jade, bamboo plants and bonsais.

Demand has increased also for vaporisers, N95 masks, respiratory masks, nebulisers and anti-allergic medicines. Medicines like Allegra and cetirizine, which are used in the treatment of allergies, have witnessed a 1.2x surge in weekly demand while vaporizers have witnessed a 2x surge on Tata 1mg, a spokesperson for the healthcare platform said.

Tata 1mg is also seeing a rise in demand for pollution-related diagnostic tests like allergy screen, IgE levels and phadiatop.

While doctors advise people with respiratory ailments and compromised immunity levels to remain indoors when air pollution is high, companies selling immunity-improving products have started escalating advertising.

Dabur has released fresh ads on mainstream media for its chyawanprash, talking about how it helps protect people from the impact of PM2.5 – a fine particle linked to chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease.


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