Why are condom sales on the rise?

We look at why condom sales are rising again post-pandemic...



A thin rubber sheath worn on a man's penis during sex as a contraceptive, as protection against infection or both.




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Post pandemic-panic and lockdown stir-craziness, condom sales are on the rise again. Karex, the world’s largest condom manufacturer, supplying products to Durex and ONE, reported up to a 40% drop in sales during the pandemic years. And the IRI found a 4% overall drop in condom sales during 2020. Maybe months of twiddling our thumbs at home with only reality TV to keep us company is bound to stir up the most ravenous of sexual appetites, but is this the only reason for the surge in condom purchases? What did the journey from mid-pandemic to post-pandemic look like for condoms and why are sales rising again?

The generational divide

We hate to let the team down, but numerous studies point to millennials and Gen Z having less sex than previous generations. They also care less for condoms, apparently, with only 22% of 18–34 year olds using them each time they have sex. Having said this, there are more contraceptive options available – both emergency and regular –  with the morning-after-pill and the implant making their mark on the anti-baby game.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Yes, we’re having less sex, but there’s also less fear of HIV compared to the generation that lived through the AIDS epidemic, and much more treatment available for STIs. On the whole, Gen Z and millennials seem more chilled about sex and sexual health.

The flip side

But now, post-pandemic, condom sales are on the rise. A major contributing factor could be the covid emphasis on masking, vaccines, and hygiene protection. People are more vigilant about sniffles and colds, so why not about sex too? 

Hormonal contraception is always an option, but the face-mask might have changed the way we mentally imagine illness and bacterial transmission, leading us to favour barrier methods of contraception instead. 

Now vs. then

Perhaps the question isn’t so much ‘why now?’ as ‘why not during the pandemic?’. Government programmes that once distributed and promoted condom use slowed down –  if not halted altogether – during the pandemic. (Even our government lost faith in our sex-having ability)… Non-essential health centres closed, so even minor queries about sexual health and contraception went unanswered. And, inevitably, mental health suffered. Sex is fun, but you have to be happy to want to have it. With depression and anxiety on the incline and general mental wellness on the decline, covid rendered us sexless when we needed it the most.

No facts or figures can determine for sure why condom sales rose post-pandemic, but more people want to have safe sex now, and that’s something to celebrate! Whether it was the burning desire that built while boxed up at home, or just general zest for life re-emerging once we saw what we were missing, this is a positive trend.

Happy (and safe) post-pandemic loving,

The Roam Team

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