BEIJING (TheStreet) -- The common man in China used to root for economic growth and shrug off polluted air as a necessary price to pay for future prosperity.
Today, now that China has achieved relative prosperity, the common man is spending a lot of money on home air purifiers, purifier replacement filters and face masks.
The combination of urban air pollution and consumer wealth has been a boon to companies that cater to rising demand for a little lung protection in China. Getting behind these companies are stock investors who understand the common man's angst and don't expect China's chronic smog to blow away anytime soon.
The Beijing-based consultancy China Market Monitor predicts air purifier sales to hit $1.4 billion this year in China and jump another 30% in 2015. Highlighting the potential for growth is the fact that only about 0.1% of Chinese homes today have an air purifier, compared with 71% of the homes in South Korea.
Step one for investing in these smog-fighting product makers is to remember that Chinese consumers often prefer foreign brands. Moreover, the middle class and wealthy don't mind paying extra for trustworthy products if their health is at stake.
According to China Market Monitor, foreign companies have cornered 54% of the air purifier market in China. And the market's fastest-growing segment is at the high end of the price range, which means $800 and up. Well-to-do consumers sometimes have a purifier in every room in the house.