A new report by leading face mask brand SmartCover reveals reusable face masks have soared in online popularity during the latest lockdown. The analysis of online news and social media sentiment in the UK highlights that the public's engagement with reusable face mask topics online has increased significantly in the last three months, compared to the previous period.
Reusable vs. disposable debate
While both reusable and disposable face mask-related topics are trending, the SmartCover analysis reveals that during the third government-imposed lockdown, the total number of reusable face mask mentions were almost double disposable mask related ones.
Sentiment analysis of online news and social media indicates a reluctant attitude towards disposable masks, with only 8% of total mentions positive, compared to 61% of positive sentiment mentions for reusable face masks.
Top hashtags and emojis reveal increased awareness on single-use
The social listening analysis reveals the top hashtags and emojis used in the UK in relation to reusable and disposable face masks. The "face with medical mask" emoji was the top result with 25% of mentions, while the "folded hands" emoji, another top result (5%), is an indicator that people are encouraging the use of reusable masks.
The "grinning squinting face" was the most used with disposable mask terms, with 40% of total mentions, equally popular as the "pleading face" emoji, which grew in popularity as people started encouraging each other to consider reusables.
The study highlights a general increase in the public's consciousness about the downsides of single-use masks, with some of the most popular hashtags identified - #choosetoreuse, #ecofriendly, #washable or #reusebeatssingleuse touching on environmental concerns. Of the top ten most used emojis with disposable face mask terms, 90% were in a negative context.
Twitter leading platform for reusable face mask support
Engagement on reusable face mask terms increased over 2,000 times in the last three months, compared to the previous period. Twitter has been largely responsible for this increase, with 75% of mentions coming from the social media platform, followed by newspapers and online news, at 11% and 7%, respectively.
Matteo Grassi, CEO of Viceroy Group, parent company to SmartCover, said: "We're seeing increased interest in reusable face masks, and it's encouraging to see the UK public's activism in this respect and their awareness on the environmental impact of single-use face masks. We hope more people consider the reusable alternative where possible, always making sure that safety certifications are being met."