Young consumers seek new, different condoms

There hasn't been a lot of growth in intimacy health lately, with the exception of intimacy enhancement devices, which are up 16.5% to a relatively small $26.2 million base for the 52 weeks ended June 16, according to IRI. But there is plenty of opportunity to drive growth into the category moving forward, especially with the Millennials entering the marketplace.

"People want something new and different in the category for condoms, just like they would for laundry detergent or dish soap," observed Matthew Shiflin, general manager of Jarden and distributor of Billy Boy condoms. "Fifty-six percent of condom purchasers today are 18-year-old to 24-year-old collegiate males. These are Millennials who are charged with social media and want to be wowed. They want to identify with something that's different than the traditional norm."

"There are consumers out there who are looking for something new," added Davin Wedel, president of Global Protection, which makes One Condoms. "And there's the potential to bring those new, younger consumers into the category."

Church & Dwight possesses the lion's share of the male contraceptive category — a 73.9% dollar share and a 72.7% unit share across total U.S. multi-outlets. That may seem intimidating for some manufacturers, but many of the specialty condom manufacturers breaking through to mass — in addition to Billy Boy there's Global Protection, Kimono and Sir Richard's Condom Co. — consider themselves category catalysts.

"What we've been seeing across the board is that the overall base business is down anywhere from 3% to 5%, depending on the retailer," Shiflin said. As a whole, the category is slightly down by 1.2%, according to IRI data. "The only factor that's really been sustaining additional losses and/or growing the category is the [new-to-mass-planogram] brands."

That's not to say larger manufacturers aren't generating category solutions to boost sales. Market leader Church & Dwight recently expanded its brand of Trojan condoms into the personal lubricant space.

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