There is a popular notion home is the safest place on the planet. But, with escalating urbanization, pollution is also increasing rapidly, and our homes might not be safe anymore like the way we think. According to market experts, our indoor air quality is now five times more polluted than outdoor air. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, people mostly now stay at home, and the dangerous air pollutants may cause several grave health issues like skin problems, asthma, and breathing issues. Mask cannot be a solution at home; the lone way to deal with this impediment is by installing air purifiers. Leveraging on this immense growth in volume in this segment, numerous domestic players including international companies like Sharp Corporation, Honeywell International Inc., Xiaomi Corporation, Eureka Forbes, Dyson, Daikin Airconditioning India Pvt. Ltd is offering these products ranging from sub Rs. 1,000 to nearly Rs. 1 lakh.
Highlighting the importance of air purifiers, Faisal Kawoosa, founder, a teacher told WireX, “Air Purifiers are now increasingly becoming an essential electronics apparatus especially in the metro cities / highly urbanized areas where the pollution levels are unbearable at certain times during a calendar year. For instance, during the November-January period in NCR, I wouldn’t say it’s a must-have device yet, but it’s something that one cannot live without at times. Just like how ACs become essential for a few months, at the moment air purifiers also become critical for a few months in certain parts of the country.”
Why are air purifiers becoming a necessity?
Speaking about Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, the air that we breathe today is categorized as dangerous. For the past few years, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi has touched 999, which implies the meter cannot go any higher than this. There are dozens of administrative and capitalist excuses to solve this massive trouble. This is how air purifiers are becoming a necessary product and is no longer considered a useless luxury product. According to numerous scientists, people who are infected with COVID-19 in polluted regions have a higher risk of dying when exposed to air pollution for a longer time.
Air quality has taken on an entirely new meaning in the past year. Today we understand that there is more in the air than just dust. Airborne viruses and microscopic pollution like chemicals can concentrate in our air, particularly indoors in confined air-conditioned spaces.
In an exclusive interaction with the WireX, Jaya Rao, co-founder, and CEO, Molekule, said: “We have seen this with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which can move through the air via respiratory droplets. India is also facing the rising air pollution crisis, and people are increasingly aware of the severe long-term impact it can have on health. While improving this air quality outdoors will take time, policy, and structural changes, there is something that can be done today to clean local air with air purification”
“I believe the indoors is where the battle for clean air will first be won and advanced air purification is the easiest solution in the toolbox. Especially now, as India faces new lockdown restrictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, we must be implementing solutions like air purifiers that go beyond filtering air of large particles to actually destroy a range of airborne contaminants, like viruses, at a molecular level,” added Jaya
According to Cardiovascular Research by the European Society of Cardiology, an estimated 15 percent of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution.
The pollution and smog increase every year in NCR during the arrival of winters and when stubble burning happens in various parts of the region. There is a general perception that air quality inside the home is always fresh, which is not the case now. When this inferior air gets trapped inside our rooms, people require a solution to counter this hazardous cocktail brewing inside.
Back in 2018, a World Health Organization (WHO) report mentioned that over 4 million people in the world die each year prematurely due to air pollution locked inside homes. Inferior air inside the room is the source of strokes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. Due to an increase in indoor air pollution, the number of premature deaths include 27 percent pneumonia, while 18 percent stroke and 8 percent because of lung cancer.
Growth of air purifier market globally and in India
As per a global report of Grand View Research, back in 2020, the market of this segment was estimated at USD 10.67 billion and is speculated to increase at a CAGR of 10 percent from 2021 to 2028, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, international research firm Markets and Research has something else to opine. According to them, the international market of air purifiers was valued at nearly $1,559.8.0 million in 2019, having a CAGR of 9.0 percent since 2015, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.8 percent to nearly $2,350.8 million by the end of 2023. By 2025, the segment would be valued at $2,886.0 million, and by 2030; it would reach $4,819.4 million.
Moving ahead, the augmented incidence of obstructive sleep apnea, COVID-19 impact, rapid urbanization, allergies, and altering climatic conditions are speculated to carry this market ahead. On the other hand, underperformance, ozone emissions, higher maintenance cost, and lesser education about its adoption could restrict the growth of global air purifiers. The market of air purifiers is divided into dust collectors, fume and smoke collectors, and many more. The fume and smoke collectors market was the largest segment of the air purifiers market by type, accounting for $775.9 million or 49.7 percent of the total market in 2019. The dust collectors market is expected to be the fastest-growing segment going forward at a CAGR of 13.6 percent during 2019-2023.
This segment is again divided into HEPA filters, activated carbon, and others in terms of technology. The HEPA filter market was the largest segment of the air purifiers market by technology, accounting for $820.6 million or 52.6 percent of the total market in 2019, and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment going forward at a CAGR of 11.7 percent during 2019-2023.
Source: Data Intello
When speaking of the Indian scenario in this segment, air purifiers in the country (room, commercial, and car included) created revenue of Rs. 727 crore towards the end of 2019 and is expected to escalate around Rs. 2,420 crore by 2026. As per Tech Sci Research, the market in India witnessed $ 49 million towards the end of 2024. In November 2020, NCR witnessed a 50 percent increase in sales of air purifiers.
Do air purifiers actually work?
These days, most air purifier makers claim that their products are equipped with high clean air delivery rates (CADRs), but every user must note that in reality there is no industry standard. Nonetheless, if a small-sized air purifier claims that it has CADR much more than those products double in size, then there is a red alarm, states experts because laws of physics never change, however, sophisticated the technology, size, or design of the fan offers clean air. Every air purifier requires taking in and releasing out at least a sufficient volume of air to execute the CADR promise.
Air is extremely complex, meaning it is made up of many things. Large particles can easily be identified floating in the air, and microscopic pollutants, like viruses, mold, bacteria, chemicals, and more, which cannot be seen, yet can be airborne or aerosolized. Air purifiers are equipped to help reduce these things in the air and can provide an added layer of protection to our homes, workspaces, or any indoor space. While our surroundings may look clean because they are dusted nicely every day, in reality, the chances are high that there’s still a significant concentration of pollutants suspended in the air.
According to Molekule, most air purifiers available in the market rely on HEPA filters to reduce large-scale pollutants from the air, which was developed in the 1940s. This technology uses filters to collect pollutants, but microscopic pollutants, like mold and bacteria can grow on the filter while viruses and VOCs can slip through the filters completely.
Air purifiers consist of a fan, filter, or multiple filters and as air passes through the filter, particles, and pollutants are captured and then the clean air is circulated in the living room. Normally, filters are crafted out of paper, fiber (often fiberglass), or mesh, and require regular substitutes to keep up effectiveness. It further implies that along with buying this product, you should also consider its filter replacement and operational costs. The price of the previous can be up to $100 annually, while the latter might cost $50 every year.
To justify the working capability of air purifiers, Kawoosa adds, “The product has filters which do remove air pollutants. I don’t see there is any doubt about it. But we need to be careful about what we are buying. There are always fake and inferior products across electronics categories that may be available in the market. One doesn’t find them really serving the purpose.”
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