Condoms have come to stay in safe sex practices. The global condom industry is forecast to hit a market value of US $5.4 billion by 2018, with the industry set to be driven by the growing concern over the spread of various sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS and the need for a safe and cost-effective method of contraception.
Evidence of condom use dates back to 1220 B.C. in Egypt, according to Durex, a leading international brand of condoms. Today, the condom is more than a contraceptive and is a part of modern day sex culture and even a sexual fashion statement. Though condoms played a vital role in the 1960s and 1970s in protection from sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhoea, the main use of a condom remained for contraception purposes. One of the most devastating diseases to affect humanity is AIDS.
As of 2011, about 35 million people were surviving with this life-threatening infection worldwide, while over 2.5 million newly infected cases were reported. In terms of death toll since the spread of the disease, about 30 million people have succumbed to date, with the year 2011 alone accounting for over 1.7 million deaths.
The condoms market, of late, has opened up to the introduction of new pleasure-oriented condoms, in contrast to conventional condoms, such as latex rubber, polyurethane, lambskin, lubricated, and spermicidal types of condoms. Other noteworthy market trends include launch of thinner condoms, increased focus on younger generation and women, use of nitrile polymer for female condoms, innovative packaging and labelling of condoms, and line extensions.
Distribution-wise, condoms are increasingly being picked up from self-service counters available at drug stores, supermarkets, and more specifically online. Europe represents the largest market for condoms in terms of value, accounting for about 25% share of the global market. However, in terms of volume, Asia-Pacific dominates owing to its huge population, growth in public awareness, and increased governmental support.
The Asia-Pacific market for condoms is forecast to register the fastest growth, both in value and volume terms, and is likely grow at a compounded annual growth rate of over 6% value-wise during the years 2007 through 2015. In the majority of underdeveloped regions, there still prevails a high degree of ignorance pertaining to knowledge and correct use of condoms. Several organisations, throughout the world, are therefore taking up aggressive social marketing across all commercial and professional media.
Chinese condom industry is on the fast track of growth and is increasing by 9.77% year on year. The annual growth rate of domestic condom sales volume in 2011-2012 was lower than had been forecasted in 2009, mainly because of the declining volume of government purchase and the lack of influential new products in the Chinese condom market.