Mask prices surge due to coronavirus epidemic
- 20 February 2020
The appearance of a coronavirus in China has caused great concern throughout the world. The new threat has generated huge demand for previously unpopular products such as surgical masks. Although Poland is not one of the places directly threatened by the epidemic, increased sales of masks have also been reported in our country. How did coronavirus affect their availability and prices?
Price monitoring for surgical masks
Price monitoring is a process that allows you to review and analyze prices and the availability of selected products on the market, as well as observe the relationships between them. Sudden changes usually occur due to the arrival of a season or a period of increased demand. This also happened with surgical masks at a time when the number of coronavirus infected people in the world began to increase rapidly.
Using the Dealavo platform, we analyzed the prices and availability of surgical masks in the most popular online pharmacies in Poland. This allowed us to see the rapid changes that were taking place in the market during the period of virus spread. Usually, the sudden increase in demand for protective products with their limited supply causes that prices surge. How was the case of protective masks?
Prices and availability of surgical masks – analysis
The chart below comes directly from the Dealavo application and shows the price increase of masks sold individually at the end of January, i.e. when news about the Chinese virus arrived in Europe. As you can see, prices of the Matopat masks only increased at the beginning of the epidemic and then stabilized – around the turn of January and February. You can also notice that the masks are selling out quickly each line stands for a different e-shop.
On the next chart with a different example, we can see a clear decrease in the availability of surgical masks sold individually. We showed the availability of a green Romed mask, unavailable in almost all monitored stores (a crossed out basket means no availability).
In the chart below, we can see that the prices of this surgical mask did not manage to rise before the product sold out in most stores.
The sudden increase in demand caused by the appearance of coronavirus has meant that masks sold individually are currently unavailable.
Increased interest in the product with limited supply is usually a great time to raise prices. In the case of masks, only a few stores succeeded in reacting in time to dynamic changes in market conditions and updating prices at the end of January. Most sellers, however, did not manage to take advantage of the increased demand, because they simply ran out of masks before they could make changes to the offer.
Price automation in pharmacies
The perfect solution to this problem would be the use of Dynamic Pricing, i.e. the automation of prices in the store. Monitoring tools allow not only to observe the market situation, but also to react immediately to emerging changes and set product prices on an ongoing basis based on, among others demand, supply and competition price analysis. Such a tool would allow you to react in time and optimize mask prices so as to maximize profit.