High Demand for Medical Face Masks has Chinese Suppliers Racing to Source From the US – Amazon Flooded with Requests

In December, the coronavirus outbreak developed in the city of Wuhan in central China. The coronavirus illness now has an official name. On Monday the World Health Organization proposed the name, COVID-19 as the identity of the illness. The acronym stands for coronavirus disease 2019. Global cases are on the rise at over 45,000, with more than 42,700 of those in mainland China. China reports, there have been 1019 deaths. Over the weekend 97 people died since the outbreak began this is said to be the highest daily death toll. Due to the hundreds of unfortunate deaths and thousands of confirmed cases, supplies of medical face masks and other sanitary protection items are running low everywhere.

In the United States, pharmacies have begun reporting shortages. Many of the world’s face masks are manufactured in China and Taiwan, up to 7 billion a year to supply hospitals and medical workers throughout the world. To comply with demands by the government, factories have been forced to temporarily freeze exports and shut down and Lunar New Year has been extended. Production had already slowed at Chinese factories. According to the government, factories have yet to resume production, operating a little over half capacity.

Among those that have delayed reopening is, Medicom’s factory in Wuhan, which makes surgical gowns. The company’s mask-making site in Taiwan is no longer allowed to export due to closures. At its facility near Shenzhen in southeastern China, the worldwide mask shortage has prompted electronics giant Foxconn, the maker of the Apple iPhone, to set up a production line of facial masks. On Friday the company said it is applying for product certification and it expects the capacity to reach 2 million facial masks per day by the end of February.

Buying masks on e-commerce is becoming close to impossible with masks prices surging. The ripple effect of Chinese factories being temporarily shut down is slowing down production on not only medical items but goods period.

The Demand for masks is so high, non-Prime Amazon categories are skyrocketing with price hikes. Some selling for $60 with three weeks expected shipping time delays. Rankings for medical respirator masks like the N95 are off the charts with the standard price for this item being $13, in the last week there are none on the marketplace under $50 to $60.

Based upon our expertise and tools we are noticing that new masks listings that have been up for only a week are ranking in the top 20 in big categories. These categories include Industrial Scientific, Health & Household, Health & Personal, Computer Accessories, Tools & Home Improvement, and Medical.

Safety Respirators 

  • 3M 8511 Respirator, N95, Cool Flow Valve (10-Pack)
  • #1 Best Seller in Safety Respirators
  • #2 in Tools & Home Improvement
  • November 16th listing prices at $13.
  • New listing prices starting at $50 to $70
  • Lead time 2 weeks

Safety Masks 

  • 3-Ply Disposable Earloop Face Mask for Professional Medical, Dental, Salon Use (500 Masks / 10 Boxes, BLUE)
  • Ranking #4 in Medical Face Masks
  • Ranking #8 in sanitary Masks
  • January 31st listing prices starting at $180.
  • New listing prices starting at $670 up to $750
  • Lead time 2 to 4 weeks

Industrial Scientific

  • Disposable Face Masks (Pack of 40ct)
  • Ranking #2 in Medical Face Masks
  • Listing prices ranging from $18 to $92
  • Lead time 4 weeks

Medical Supplies & Equipment

  • Disposable Face Masks (Pack of 20ct)
  • Ranking number 4
  • January 12th listing prices at $15
  • New listing prices between $18 – $60
  • Lead time 2 to 3 weeks


The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shortage in masks supply worldwide. People in the US are seeing an influx in orders for masks. Amazon is also being flooded with demand for medical face masks, potentially missing out on millions a day due to non-Prime listings. These listings have no sellers in FBA and are still being ranked number 2 in the top 20 categories. Typically, nothing gets ranked number 2 on Amazon without being in Prime. Without Prime, it is highly unlikely to rank on the first page and some listings are not prime eligible and still rank on the first page in major categories.

Thank you for reading. If you need immediate advice or assistance with Amazon strategies? Talk to our Channel Key team.

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