Despite lockdowns that forced millions to stay home, there was one product that took a dramatic hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, condoms.
According to the British Medical Journal, the company that makes one in five condoms globally, Karex Berhad, has seen sales drop by over 40 per cent over the past two years.
A meta-analysis of seven studies from China, Italy, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S., published in the journal Sexologies in 2021 determined that there was a “decrease in sexual activity, which indicates the impairment of the individuals’ quality of sexual life.”
The BMJ cites anxiety and stress about the pandemic as a major factor in the dip of both sexual activity and condom sales, but notes that perhaps the biggest impact came from the global pause on sexual health clinics and the cancellation of orders for condoms. Karex Berhad used the National Health Service in the U.K. shutting down its sexual wellness clinics, which normally hand out free condoms, as an example.
The decline in sales got so bad that Karex Berhad switched to making rubber gloves and other personal protective equipment to make up for the shortfall.