Suppliers help consumers get more intimate on-shelf

NEW YORK —Beginning this fall, customers shopping intimacy health are going to get a whole new eyeful of products, as condoms go vertical. It’s a space-efficiency program that’s going to create additional facing opportunities across the category—on average, that will mean an additional three vertical condom packages for every two horizontal packages on the shelf today.

The generation of more facings without sacrificing additional space means better sales-per-sq.-in., especially as the category remains on a steady growth trajectory. Sales of condoms were up 2.2% to $271.9 million for the 52 weeks ended April 18 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to data from SymphonyIRI Group; sales of personal lubricants increased by 11.5% to $162.9 million in that period; and sales of sexual enhancement devices grew 34.4% to $10.1 million. Overall, the intimacy health set generated $444.9 million, up 6%.

Not withstanding the category growth, condoms represent a difficult category to shop, and the new alignment is expected to make intimacy selections easier to identify quickly. “Categorywide, [condoms] tend to underperform norms for personal care products,” Steve Mare, Durex senior brand manager, said. “The opportunity here is to clean up the category, make it more organized.”

“Consumers spend less than 10 seconds at the shelf [in this category],” said Jim Daniels, Church & Dwight VP marketing, as compared with the almost two-and-a-half minutes shoppers take in deciding which pregnancy test kit to buy. “What we learned from that is that we need to make the category easy to shop [and] well organized,” he said. According to Daniels, the purchasing hierarchy across condoms are brand, benefits and lubricant types, in that order.

All of this suggests a steady flow of new, innovative products. “[Retailers] may not free up space for condoms, necessarily, they may free up space for vibrating devices and personal lubricants,” said Carol Carrozza, VP marketing for Ansell Healthcare.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of this category,” Daniels said, noting that C&D is taking the opportunity to upgrade its packaging graphics based on its most recent consumer research. As for new products, C&D last month launched its Trojan Fire & Ice, a condom that combines two lubricants inside and outside the condom.

Durex is introducing the Durex Love Box at NACDS Marketplace—a two-SKU launch, each featuring eight unique design elements across the packaging. “Consumers consider [current condom] packaging to be boring—Love Box packaging is anything but boring,” Mare said. “Consumers are embarrassed to buy and sometimes carry condoms, these are much more fun to shop, more discreet and easier to carry.”

And Ansell is launching its LifeStyles Kyng condom and Thyn condom for July, rounding out its “LifeStyles Signature Collection” that also includes Skyn.

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