Condom sales unexpectedly plummeted during the pandemic, according to Karex, the world’s largest manufacturer.
Karex, which supplies condoms to brands like Durex and ONE Condoms, said its sales have fallen 40% in the past two years. Nikkei reported Last week. This flies in the face of what the industry expected, and most companies had forecasted increased contraceptive sales due to widespread economic uncertainty.
Several industry players have also predicts looming condom shortage, driven by plant closures and disruptions to the global supply chain.
Goh Miah Kiat, chief executive of the Malaysian Contraception Company, told Nikkei demand began to collapse at the start of the pandemic, when hotels and motels were forced to close. It took away a valuable form of privacy, he said, and also dealt a blow to sex workers in person as well.
Government condom distribution programs have also been halted due to the pandemic, he said, as non-essential health clinics have been temporarily closed.
“A large part [of condoms] is distributed by governments around the world, which have reduced [distribution] significantly during COVID-19, ”Goh told Nikkei. “For example, in the United Kingdom, the NHS [National Health Service] closed most non-essential clinics due to COVID, and sexual wellness clinics that distribute condoms have also been closed. “
For its fiscal year 2020, Karex recorded its first full-year loss since its IPO in 2013, and its share price on the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange fell almost 50%. according to Insider. On average, Karex produces around 5.5 billion condoms per year. Its closest competitor, Thai Nippon Rubber, produces around 2 billion.
Goh told Nikkei that condom sales in recent weeks have started to improve, but the company plans to expand into manufacturing medical gloves to mitigate any further losses.
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