Friday, 4 Dec 2020

Sales of condoms perked up after lockdown was relaxed

The end of national lockdown sparked a summer of love as condom sales surged following a three month slump.

Global sales of condom brand Durex jumped more than 10% over the summer when relaxed coronavirus restrictions meant people could rekindle romances.

It was a different picture during Spring, when people were having far less sex.

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Durex, said lockdowns took their ‘toll on the number of intimate occasions’ single people were enjoying, with condom usage declining because this form of contraception is less popular with those in long-term relationships.

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The company’s chief executive Laxman Narasimhan said that after a ‘more challenging first half of the year, relaxations of social distancing regulations resulted in improved demand for our sexual well-being products, including Durex, which saw double-digit growth in revenue’.

He added: ‘This has been particularly pronounced in markets where the rate of pandemic infection has materially improved.’

The surge in condom sales gave a boost to Reckitt Benckiser’s health division.

But the decline earlier this year could have a knock-on effect on its baby formula business next year, when birth rates are expected to be lower.

With many countries now facing a second wave of coronavirus, recovery in sexual health products may be short lived.

However it’s good news elsewhere, as cleaning products such as Dettol and Lysol are flying off the shelves, entering 19 new countries since February.

Reckitt Benckiser said overall sales jumped 6.9% to £3.51 billion in the three months to the end of September. Its hygiene division was the best performer, with sales rising 12.4% to £1.49 billion.

‘The pandemic has heightened the societal importance of hygiene, seen increasingly as the foundation for health,’ the company said.

Higher levels of demand are expected to persist long term ‘as new consumer cleaning and sanitation habits become engrained’.

Reckitt Benckiser added: ‘There is also evidence that birth rates will be further lowered in coming quarters as a result of behaviour changes related to the pandemic. This is expected to have an impact on market growth for our infant nutrition business in 2021.

‘Sexual wellbeing products also saw temporarily reduced demand, due to reduced social interactions, although, where markets have started to open up, there have already been good signs of recovery.’

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