With the United States (and much of the world) in the throes of the worst part of the pandemic to date, leaving the house means grabbing your keys, wallet, phone – and in most cases, your mask. Let’s get it out of the way: no matter what is said about Americans being divided, in general, according to a CivicScience survey, the majority (yes, 82%) agree that face masks are an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Likewise, another recent CivicScience study found that more than 80% support state-issued mask mandates.

While coronavirus vaccines are on track to become available for certain vulnerable populations by the end of the year, mask-wearing isn’t going anywhere as a COVID-19 measure, especially since the general public likely won’t have access to the vaccine until (optimistically) April, May, or June of next year. Even then, the vaccines are not 100% effective and it will take time for people to receive it, if they do at all. There will still be risks in the meantime.

With masks being part of our new normal, at least for the time being, this study focuses on the types of masks Americans wear, how much people spend on them, and certain brands or features of interest.

Interestingly, in a survey of 2,800 U.S. adult mask-wearers, 33% wear disposable surgical masks the most often, followed by store-bought cloth masks. Homemade cloth masks came in third place.

Women are more likely than men are to wear cloth masks, while men have a higher incidence rate of wearing respirators.

The data revealed that the type of mask Americans opt for correlates with their concern about the pandemic. Those who opt for certain masks like cone-style masks, cloth masks with filter inserts, and respirators show the greatest concern about being in public spaces, followed up by those who wear disposable masks, homemade and store-bought cloth mask wearers. Those who wear bandanas or neck gaiters show the least amount of concern about being out in public.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, most adults (69%) have spent under $50 on masks and face coverings.

Those who opt for respirator or cone-style masks have unsurprisingly forked over more cash than other mask wearers. 

Every Store’s a Mask Retailer Now

Thirty-one percent of American adults say they’ve purchased masks at a major retailer or big-box store, a figure that has doubled since we last surveyed in July.

Online retailers like Amazon have increased for mask purchases as well, but not by as much.

Brands and Features

Of some well-known brands, Old Navy comes out on top with the most consumers having purchased masks at the store (12%). Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are close behind, however, with 8% having purchased masks made by each of these brands. Lululemon masks pale in comparison. 

One feature that many in the colder parts of the country may look for is a mask to keep their face warm this winter. Results from a quick survey show that more than 40% of U.S. adults are at least somewhat interested in this concept.

Mask-wearing seems here to stay for the foreseeable future, even as vaccines start to get rolled out to parts of the population. It appears that most Americans are on-board with wearing masks to do their own part in stopping the spread.