Press Release

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Brits are most likely to own a face mask, poll of 15 major countries finds

  • 97% of UK adults say they own a face mask
  • Americans are seven times less likely than Brits to own a mask
  • Australia is the country where residents are least likely to own a mask with only 58% of Australians having one

10, September, 2020, LONDON –

New research has found that 97% of Brits say they have a face mask, leaving just 3%, or 1.5 million, who don’t own one. This is the lowest percentage of 15 major countries in the global study from personal finance comparison site,

In fact, the UK is a clear winner when it comes to residents masking up. South Africa is the country with the second-highest percentage of masks owned, but 1 in 10 (10%) still don’t own one there.

The country where residents are least likely to own a mask is Australia, where only 58% of the population currently own one.

In contrast to the UK, Americans are over 7 times more likely to not own a mask, with over a fifth (22%) not owning a mask yet. Across the sea in nearby Ireland, around 1 in 6 (16%) Irish residents don’t own a mask currently.

What masks are we choosing?

The most popular type of mask in the UK is a plain cloth mask (57%), followed closely by the blue surgical masks, which is owned by half of the population (51%).

Following this was a “fashionable or branded mask”, which is owned by a quarter of Brits (25%), homemade masks (22%), medical-grade masks (18%) and face shields (13%).

How are we choosing our masks?

For Brits a mask being reusable is the most important thing with almost two-thirds (61%) saying they consider this when buying a mask.

The other top motivations for Brits when selecting a mask is safety and being able to breathe easily with 45% of respondents listing both of these options as one of their top priorities.

Commenting on the findings, Georgia-Rose Johnson, shopping specialist at said:

“Wearing a mask is an important part of controlling the virus so it is encouraging to see so many Brits leading the way. The fact that safety was one of the top reasons behind our mask choices also bodes well for us all.

“Masks are likely to be part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future, so choosing reusable masks is a sensible way to keep costs down and help the environment. Choosing a cloth will enable you to wear them multiple times and should provide a higher level of comfort. You can see a detailed guide on the differences here.”

Finder commissioned Onepoll and Google Surveys on 14–17 August to carry out nationally representative surveys of adults aged 18+. A total of 22,900 people were questioned throughout the UK, US, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, France, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Australia with representative quotas for gender, age and region.


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