The CEO of the world’s biggest condom maker Karex has revealed that condom sales have dropped in the past two years due to covid-19 restrictions.
Speaking during an interview with Nikkei Asia, CEO Goh Miah said condom sales have dropped by as much as 40 per cent in the wake of the pandemic.
Globally, Karex is the largest condom manufacturer with a production record of 5.5 billion condoms yearly while operating in 140 nations and its only major competitor Thai Nippon Rubber produces 2 billion.
According to the CEO, the pandemic, which led to the closure of many secluded places including restaurants, hotels and motels, contributed to a decline in intimacy.
“Hotel stays were disrupted by the pandemic,” the Karex C.E.O said.
“A large portion [of condoms] is distributed by governments around the world, which have reduced [distribution] significantly during COVID-19,” Goh said.
“For instance, in the United Kingdom, the NHS [National Health Service] shut down most nonessential clinics because of COVID, and sexual wellness clinics which hand out condoms were also closed.”
However, the company saw a rise in sales of other products including lubricants, probe covers for medical devices, and foley balloon catheters which are used in drainage of the urinary bladder.
With the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, the giant Malaysian company is slowly recovering and sales are now starting to go up.
Despite that, Ng Chi Hoong of Affin Hwang Investment Bank says the company is still expected to experience challenges with the operating environment.
“The current recovery mainly focuses on developed markets for both the own-brand manufacturing and the commercial segment, while demand for the tender market is likely to remain lackluster, as recent government funding remains focused on securing COVID-19 vaccines instead,” Ng Chi Hoong says.
The Malaysian company is now eyeing the production of medical gloves amid the plummeting of condom sales, with production already set to begin mid this year in Thailand.
Karex will join fellow companies such as Top Glove, Supermax, and Hartalega in producing medical gloves.
At the same time, the Karex C.E.O said the fight against the spread of AIDS should not be forgotten even as the world focuses on Covid-19, adding that condoms are still a vital tool to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
“It is critical that while we have managed to make strides to get control of the pandemic, we must not lose focus of the fact that condoms will still have a critical role to play as the world emerges from its fight against the COVID-19 virus,” he said.