Health concerns linked to COVID-19 are raising awareness of the air cleaner category.
Spring allergies normally drive demand for air cleaners. This spring, respiratory safety and health concerns linked to the COVID-19 crisis amplified sales of air purifiers by homebound consumers while reinforcing overall awareness of the importance of good indoor air quality.
Air cleaner demand has risen sharply since stay-at-home mandates were implemented. Sales of air cleaners were up 144% in the three-week period ending April 4 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the NPD Group.
Consumers normally take about 20,000 breaths each day and spend 90% of the time indoors, according to the Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program.
Officials from the Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program report that consumers are more interested in learning about air quality, with page views for portable air cleaners on the www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com website increasing 48% as the coronavirus outbreak escalated.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can contain concentrations of some pollutants two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Indoor pollutants can come from heating and cooking appliances, cleaning supplies, paints, building materials and other commonly used products.
Increasing consumer home air quality awareness has helped drive sales for several years of devices to reduce such airborne contaminants as pet dander, dust pollen and mold, as well as volatile organic compounds, bacteria and viruses.
Consumer education remains an important issue in the air cleaner segment. Shoppers may be overwhelmed when reviewing the features and benefits of the many products currently available on the market.
In-store product packaging has evolved the past several years to present efficacy and usage guidance that is easy to read and digest. Online, suppliers and retailers can offer expanded outlines of the product features and benefits, aided by video demonstrations and other content that showcase the technological and efficacious aspects of the air cleaners.
New products on the market today make use of various purification systems to cleanse the air of impurities. These include mechanical filtration models combining pre-filters, HEPA filters and activated carbon filters. Advanced air purifying technologies available for home use, such as medical-grade NCCO technology, active oxygen generators and photocatalyst filtration are reported to be very effective against viruses and germs.
Some new air cleaners, including lightweight portable models, feature sensors that monitor surrounding air quality and automatically adjust filtration intensity.
The air cleaner category is also one that has also seen a great deal of product development when it comes to the growth of connected or smart home products. WiFi- or Bluetooth-enabled units allow consumers to connect with their unit remotely to control settings, monitor air quality and turn the unit on and off.