Increasing supply of face masks to relieve buying frenzy

To cool down the fever of face masks and hand sanitizers, several distribution channels have joined hands with enterprises to increase the supply for the market. It is expected that hundreds of thousands of antimicrobial and medical face masks will be put into the market this weekend.
Workers make face masks in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: SGGP)
Workers make face masks in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: SGGP)

According to Mr. Do Quoc Huy, Marketing Director of Saigon Co.op, his company has signed a production and underwriting contract of more than 6.5 million antimicrobial face masks with Dong Xuan Knitting Company (Doximex). From February 13, the retail distribution channel of Saigon Co.op will sell around 200,000 antimicrobial face masks and more than 100,000 medical face masks per day.

Similarly, Big C supermarket also ensures the supply of about 500,000 medical face masks and 120,000 hand sanitizers. Satra provides its supermarkets and convenience stores an average of 40,000-60,000 face masks daily. Lotte said that it still supplies face masks for 26,000-30,000 pieces per day.

As for e-commerce channels, Tiki informed that it has been collaborating with Diana Unicharm to increase the production of three-ply face masks to 10 times higher to meet the demand. At the same time, it will join hands with Mayan and Perfetta to expand the list of high-class three-ply medical face mask product lines.

Currently, supermarkets have stipulated that each person should not buy more than a box of face masks per shopping bill. However, it is difficult to control the shopping frequency and shopping quantity of customers. Many supermarkets said that there was a situation that many people went to the supermarket several times to buy face masks to resell. According to many distribution channels, it is difficult to increase the supply of face masks and hand sanitizers to cool off the demand for these items. They have been working with manufacturers but the supply capacity is limited. Imports of these items are unfeasible as other countries also focus on meeting domestic demand so they limit exports of these items.

From the perspective of manufacturers, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Hong, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Textile and Garment - Embroidery Association, said that face mask is not a product with high consumption in the market so there are a few manufacturers. Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the demand for medical face masks jumped suddenly so in a short time, manufacturers cannot meet the demand. However, obviously, the demand for face masks cannot be met if people continue to be panic and stockpile face masks strongly as currently.

Sharing the same point of view, the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) said that the current capacity of antimicrobial face masks of Vinatex is at 320,000-350,000 masks per day. By February 17, this figure is expected to reach 450,000-500,000 masks per day.

Currently, associations also encouraged garment and textile enterprises to shift a part of their production lines to produce antimicrobial and medical face masks, but it is difficult to carry out in a short time as raw material supply is scarce and the price of raw materials is at high levels. Therefore, to soothe the face mask buying frenzy, authorities need to help enterprises to access to the source of raw materials, creating favorable conditions for transporting raw materials to domestic enterprises. At the same time, authorities should punish strictly stores that sell face masks at high prices or show signs of speculation.