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Condom use declined by 40% during the pandemic


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Instead of the expected increased demand and shortage of condoms, the use of product No 2 has fallen by forty per cent during the pandemic

The world’s largest condom manufacturer has not been immune to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as the use of its products has fallen by 40 per cent in the past two years. It appears that the world is having far less sex with condoms during the pandemic, a company manager has said.

Sexual activity by people using contraception did not increase, even when people stayed home under quarantine to stop the spread of the virus, the Nikkei Asia newspaper reported, citing Karex Berhad CEO Goh Mia Kiat.

The shutdown of tourism, the closure of hotels and non-mainstream health clinics such as sexual health centres, and the suspension of condom distribution programmes by various governments during the pandemic contributed to the decline in condom sales by Karex, Goh said.

Now the Malaysian company, which produces one in five condoms in the world, aims to become a thriving medical glove business and plans to start production in Thailand by mid-year, Goh shared his plans.

The Malaysian manufacturer not only supplies condoms to global marketing brands like Durex and ONE but also sells condoms under its own brand names, such as durian-flavoured. The company produces more than 5 billion condoms a year and exports to more than 140 countries.

In addition to the consumer market, the company also wholesales condoms to the United Nations and the World Health Organisation for use in preventing the spread of HIV.

Previously, Karex predicted demand for condoms would grow in “double digits” as governments around the world imposed restrictions on sales, forcing people to stay home. But over the past two years, Karex shares have fallen by around 18%, during which time the benchmark Malaysian stock index has lost just 3.1%.

The company’s business has been adversely affected by the pandemic. Due to a quarantine imposed by the Malaysian government, the company was forced to halt all production for more than a week at the end of March 2020 at all three plants in Malaysia.

In the end, the government allowed the company to reopen its plants, but with only 50 per cent of the workforce. The capacity cuts were expected to cause strain on the supply chain and a possible global shortage of condoms. But now the company is forced to note a 40 per cent drop in demand for its products.

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