After securing a shipment of protective masks for its employees, Newegg is now making some of those masks available to customers in the US at checkout, free of charge. For those looking to spend money, it is also selling larger quantities of masks (opens in new tab) with prices as low as $29 for 50 masks (opens in new tab).
Last week, we interviewed Newegg (opens in new tab) CEO Anthony Chow about the company’s supply chains, the products it’s currently able to offer and the shipping customers can expect in these unexpected times. Departing from more general sellers like Amazon, he largely promised business as usual, asserting that the company is working to keep its warehouses open while maintaining the health of its employees by offering protective equipment to its workers. While checking out a Newegg order this week, we discovered that Newegg is offering protective masks to customers, as well.
During the purchase of an Intel i7 Comet Lake CPU, I was personally given an offer at checkout to add single-use protective face masks to my order, with a choice between a pack of 5 face masks for $5.00 and a box of 50 masks for $50.00. Both offers came with rebates, a $15.00 one for the box of 50 and a $5.00 one for the pack of 5. This, essentially, makes the pack of 5 free.
With hospitals now facing mask shortages and Amazon restricting the sale of certain masks to all non-medical staff buyers, we decided to reach out to Newegg CEO Anthony Chow for comment.
“We secured a shipment of single-use face masks that we’re distributing to employees and we’re making 5-packs available to our customers for free,” Chow told us. “They simply need to apply the discount once they add a mask 5-pack to their purchase and the masks are theirs for free.”
After checking earlier today, I noticed that the box of 50 masks was no longer available, so the free option does seem to be Newegg’s approach at this time.
Still, being able to get masks at all, let alone for free, is enough of an endeavor right now. When we asked if the deal would be available for all items or customers, or only at certain special times, Chow explained “This is a short-term distribution limited to stock on hand. Every U.S. customer shopping Newegg.com will receive the pop-up offer at check-out unless they take the offer, opt out of future notifications, or our supply is depleted.” So, it seems like everyone has an equal opportunity to add free masks to their purchases, though the deal will only last as long as supply lasts. Chow also told us that customers can only obtain one pack each, to limit hoarding.
As for the type of masks on sale, and if they could see better use in hospitals, Chow reassured us that “It’s important to point out that the masks pertaining to this promotion are not N95 or surgical-grade,” which is the type of mask Amazon is currently restricting. Instead, Chow says “these general-use masks are particularly well-suited to everyday use by the general public, especially relevant given how health authorities in the U.S. are starting to acknowledge the benefits of mask usage by the broader population.”
This echoes announcements last week from both the CDC and Trump Administration urging citizens to wear masks when going outside, as well as some recent laws mandating mask usage.
Given these reasons, Chow tells us “We’re not yet limiting mask sales to government and healthcare organizations.”
Aside from the add-on mask deal, Newegg also sells face masks directly on its site through third-party vendors (opens in new tab). When we asked if these were readily available, Chow told us “Inventory levels on our site are adjusted in real-time, so items should be in stock and ready to ship if that’s what the customer sees on the site. It’s also important to note that many of our third-party sellers are making disclaimers about increased shipping times, especially for items shipped internationally.” As of time of writing, Tom’s Hardware is noticing a number of face mask offers on Newegg’s site, with prices ranging from $30 to $170.
Newegg’s own masks come from BYD, an auto manufacturer in China that claims to have become the world’s largest face mask maker after switching its production line to face masks early on in the coronavirus outbreak.
With Newegg’s box mask deal being pulled in the time we were reaching out to Chow, we can’t speak for how long its free masks will be available at checkout. But as governments continue to urge us to wear masks, it might be a good idea to get some now.