Wearing masks is one of the most widely-implemented COVID-19 precautionary measures around the world. Along with social distancing and home quarantine, wearing masks has claimed to be an effective manner of preventing coronavirus transmission.

With this in mind, Real Research conducted a public poll to find out the frequency and preference of the public in terms of wearing and buying masks. Our insights draw light on the facts of why the public chooses to wear masks and what factors into their mask tyre preferences. Furthermore, it also tells us if they believe in the effectiveness of this one precautionary measure.


  • Over 78% of the respondents said they wear a mask.
  • Almost 50% of the respondents said that they always wear a mask.
  • 8% said that style is the main factor when choosing to buy a mask.
  • 4% said they prefer a cloth mask over the surgical one.
  • 5% believe that weaning a mask helps prevent contracting covid-19. 

Almost 50% of the Responses say Masks are Always on, While Almost 4% Said Never

The majority of the respondents said yes to wearing masks
The majority of the respondents said yes to wearing masks

From a total of 250,000 respondents, 78.44% said they wear a mask. This means over 20% of the respondents do not wear a mask, possibly due to the fact that masks are not mandatory in all parts of the world as the corona virus did not travel as fast in some countries. Some countries handled the crisis much faster than others, hence eliminating the need to wear a mask.

Out of the total number of respondents, the majority is answered by ‘Male’ participants at 71.1% and ‘Female’ participants at 19.9%. The remaining 9% of the respondents constituted those who identified as ‘Other’.

As for the age groups that participated in this survey, 21.8% of the respondents fell into the below 20 age group, 34.3% came from those in their 20s, 23.3% from those in their 30s, 12.3% from those in their 40s, 5.3% from those in their 50s, and 3.0% from those at age 60 and above.

All participants also hailed from different parts of the world. The highest of which came from the continent of Asia. About 58% came from all over Asia, the highest responses came from India, consisting of around 53%. Following Asia, the next biggest cluster of responses came from the continent of Africa, taking about 13% of the total responses.

The survey also saw responses from other areas globally, including North America, Central America, South America, The Caribbean, Europe, The Middle East, and Oceania.

Almost 50% of the responses always wear a mask
Almost 50% of the responses always wear a mask

Out of the 78.44% who said they wear masks, only 49.7% of them said that they ‘always’ wear a mask. While 23.8% said they ‘often’ wear a mask, 17.4% said they wear masks ‘sometimes’, and 5.2% of the responses admitted to wearing masks ‘rarely’. Surprisingly, this survey shows that there are still some people out there who never have a mask on.

The reason for these varying degrees of using masks could be based on the type of job people have. It could also depend on how much one requires to leave the safety of their home. It could also depend on perhaps one living in close quarters with non-family members.

For instance, front line workers would have to always keep their masks on along with patients, and those who work in small or crowded offices. Some citizens may have been permitted permanent work from home, thus, not needed to wear a mask at all.

Moreover, some citizens barely leave their homes all day. They could have all necessities delivered to their doorstep, and so would not ever need to wear a mask. Furthermore, citizens who are considered vulnerable to the virus would also choose to stay home, hence using masks limitedly. Some could even be reducing their use of masks after being vaccinated.

Over 25% of the Responses Picked Style Over Comfort When it Came to Buying Masks

Factors that influence mask purchases
Factors that influence mask purchases

When asked what factors most influence the respondents when it came to buying masks, we received interesting answers. It seems the most important factor to choosing a mask comes from the mask’s ability for virus prevention. About 44.1% said they would choose a mask that guarantees better protection from the virus. A mask’s ability to do so would be purchased over another. This is understandable as the reason one tends to buy masks is from protection against the virus.

The second most important factor is the style. 25.8% would choose a mask that matches their unique style or fashion sense. Human identity has always been very important and the clothes and accessories one wears tend to be an extension of their personality. There are always new accessories that see a boom in stylish options, masks are not an exemption.

The next most important factor is comfort. ‘Beauty is pain’ is not taken as far with masks it seems. While style does win over comfort, it is still a bit of a close call. 19.5% of the responses chose comfort as their more important factor. No one would buy a mask that would simply refuse to sit comfortably on their face.

The last distinguishable factor in the manufacturing country. 5.4% of the responses said it matters to them where the mask was made. In the initial stages of the pandemic, Chinese products faced some difficulty because the virus originated from China. Similarly, people tend to attach importance to where a product was manufactured before they make their buying decision.

Over 32% of the Responses Picked a Cloth Mask Over a Surgical Mask

Cloth masks are preferred over surgical masks
Cloth masks are preferred over surgical masks

When asked what type of masks the respondents usually wear, it seems that cloth masks saw the highest number of responses with 32.4%. This was closely followed by surgical masks with 27.9% of the respondents’ votes.

The reason for this could be due to the fact that cloth masks are reusable. Therefore, not only is it a one time purchase but ultimately, it is also good for the environment. Surgical masks have a limited shelf life, hence, cannot be reused and increases waste output.

24.5% said they prefer N95 or professional-grade medical masks. Additionally, 7.0% said they prefer plastic face shields. Everyone was free to do their own research and choose the mask they felt most comfortable wearing. Others had access to buy higher-grade masks and took the opportunity.

Only about 65% Believe that Wearing a Mask Keeps Them Safe From the Coronavirus

Top reason to why one wears a mask
Top reason to why one wears a mask

When asked why they choose to wear masks the majority said they did so to prevent transmitting the virus. So 42.8% of the responses said they choose to wear masks to reduce the spread of the virus and prevent catching it.

28.3% of the responses said they simply did so to follow government regulations. Some countries have attached large fines on failing to wear masks. Other countries have simply made it mandatory and citizens not adhering to the rules could possibly face other consequences.

An interesting few said that they wear the mask simply because those around them were doing so. Joining the bandwagon and following the crowd holds 12.6% of the total responses to this question.

Majority believe wearing a mask keeps them from catching the coronavirus
Majority believe wearing a mask keeps them from catching the coronavirus

Upon asking the participants if they believe that the mask helps prevent them from catching the virus. The majority with over 65% said ‘yes’, about 17% said ‘no’, and the rest said they didn’t know.


From the collected data we can conclude that the majority of the public believes in preventing the spread of the virus by wearing a mask. While it seems only about half the respondents admitted to always wearing masks, it is important to note that only about 4% said that they never wear masks.

Also, it is interesting that respondents chose style over comfort when it came to choosing masks. Another interesting find is that some respondents only wear masks to adhere to government laws or to follow the crown over the reason of preventing the spread of the virus. Finally, we can also see that the majority has chosen cloth masks over surgical ones, showing a possible effort at making environment-friendly decisions during a pandemic.


Survey TitleCOVID-19 Public Poll About Wearing Masks
DurationJanuary 28, 2021 to February 4, 2021
Number of Participants250,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 19 to 60+
Participating CountriesAfghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, AzerbaijanBahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.