Big Data Shows Americans Prefer Gaiters Nearly 2X as Much as Masks for Fit and Comfort

NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — CulturIntel, an award-winning market research tech firm, completed a study to better understand people’s sentiment and behaviors motivating the use of masks and/or neck gaiters as a face cover.

CulturIntel applied its proprietary algorithm to harvest and analyze over 12.5 million digital discussions about wearing masks and/or gaiters from March 1, 2020, to August 21, 2020. Using artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and other leading big data tools, the study mined unsolicited digital discussions nationwide about the use of masks and/or neck gaiters as a face cover.

“With this study, we wanted to demonstrate how leading big data technologies can help us turn the organic digital voice of the people into insights,” said Caroline Brethenoux, Head of Strategy and Cultural Intelligence at CulturIntel. “During COVID-19 we have applied our algorithm to provide a better understanding of people’s needs, mindsets, and behaviors with agility and scale.”

The study found that when people discuss wearing a mask vs. wearing a gaiter for face covering, the negative sentiment or dissatisfaction towards wearing a mask is 31% negative for masks vs. 17% for gaiters- that is a negative sentiment that is 1.8 times worse among mask users.

Fit and Comfort as a driver for positive sentiment by face cover type and segment, with gaiters reporting nearly 2x more preference when compared to masks. Based on CulturIntel's analysis of 12.5 million digital discussions from 3/1/20- 8/20/20, using artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and big data tools to identify patterns in public opinion.

The study reported, “fit” and “comfort” as the leading positive drivers motivating the use of gaiters at 69% (25% and 44% respectively) while fit and comfort were reported at 40% for masks- at 9% and 31% respectively. The superior ranking on fit and comfort also carry through across genders and segments. Particularly among males, which have been reported to be 1.4 times less likely to wear a mask outdoors. Amongst men, gaiters reported the highest-ranking for fit and comfort as a driver for usage at 87% (at 34% and 53% respectively), with masks at 40%. That is a difference 2.1 times greater for gaiters when compared to masks among men.

The study also reported drivers to the negative sentiment, which may correlate to factors that discourage usage or compliance. The top two barriers towards using a mask are related to the lack of fit and comfort at 70% (37% and 33% respectively), with it being only 20% for gaiters (12% and 8% respectively). This may suggest that the favorable ranking of fit and comfort for gaiters may present a viable alternative to motivate usage among mask-wearers.

As the CDC suggests, adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask/ face cover or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one. Understanding what motivates people and how these may vary across segments can help inform how alternatives and messaging are presented to continue to motivate compliance and together slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

For more information about CulturIntel’s insights during COVID-19 visit

About CulturIntel
CulturIntel is an award-winning market research tech using artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and leading big data tools to turn open-source digital discussions into actionable insights. Its proprietary algorithm harvests all available open-source and unsolicited digital discussions as they happen in real-time everywhere, to cluster and discover patterns in public opinion, sentiment, and behavioral insights forged by the digital voice of the people, as opposed to a survey or poll. CulturIntel has published in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, The Cleveland Clinic, The World Economic Forum, among others; and has been widely recognized as an innovator in agile, scalable, and inclusive cultural intelligence.


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