SEATTLE — The prevalence of air pollution in many parts of India has led to a surge in the sale of indoor air purifiers, not only in the metropolises but also in smaller towns. The rising level of awareness about the effects of air pollution and the health benefits of installing air purifiers, as well as the increase in the average disposable income of the rising middle class have led to a great demand for this product. Air purifiers are devices which clean indoor air by removing impurities such as dust particles and smoke. Outdoor models, which are placed strategically at busy intersections where pollution levels are high, have not yet made their debut in India.
According to a TechSci Research report, sales of air purifiers in India are expected to grow 40 percent by 2020 and total $270.72 million by 2022; this market has grown at an unprecedented rate from almost nothing. Shuvendu Mazumar, national product manager at Sharp India, told Quartz India, “Once Indians start to realize the indoor pollution levels, this market has a potential to be as big as the water purification market in India.” The water purification industry is expected to reach $4.1 billion by 2024.
Growing Awareness of Air Purifiers in India
When U.S. President Barack Obama visited New Delhi in January 2015, the U.S. Embassy purchased 1,800 indoor air purifiers to protect the visiting officials from high levels of pollution in the city. This one event gave huge visibility to what was a relatively niche product in India. Now government institutions, offices and corporations are utilizing these products to create a healthy workplace for their employees.
The key players in the market are Philips, Sharp, Eureka Forbes, Daikin, Panasonic and Blueair, with new manufacturers entering the market each year. These companies are keen to keep production costs low in order to attract consumers. The involvement of such large multinationals fuels the growth of the sector and provides employment opportunities to Indians across the country; the demand for skilled as well as semiskilled workers at these companies is rising.
Many startups are making efforts to purify the air with innovative ideas, such as PerSapien, a New Delhi-based startup that has created a nasal air purification device to remove impurities from the air. The rising demand for air purification devices has encouraged the growth of many startups across the country, thus fueling innovation and employment.
Use of Air Purifiers Provides Benefits for Schools and Homes
Air pollution in Delhi can reach such dangerous levels, especially during the winter season, that more than 5,000 schools around the city were ordered by the government to be temporarily closed. Air purifier companies such as Philips are working with public and private schools to install their products at lower costs in an attempt to provide clean air. By installing more than 10,000 air purifiers in 200 public and private schools, the company is attempting to remove pollution from educational institutions.
Residential use of air purifiers is also increasing. In 2016, online sales of air purifiers in India registered a sevenfold increase. The rise of India’s middle class has certainly contributed to this demand. Already, air purifiers are being installed in vehicles; the argument is rather compelling that the air quality is much worse on the motorways than in homes.
Air purifiers have been proven to be effective in improving air quality; however, it is important to note that they cannot be a quick fix for the larger issue of toxic air pollution. Environmentalists and healthcare professionals insist that improving air quality in cities on a systemic level is necessary for the benefit of people and the environment. In the interim, air purifiers offer much-needed relief to India’s citizens.
– Isha Kakar