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The end of the national lockdown spurred a summer of love that revived condom sales at market leader Durex.
Sales at the condom brand jumped more than 10% over the summer months when a respite from coronavirus restrictions enabled people to rekindle their sex lives.
The opposite had been true in the spring when Durex’s owner, the household goods companyReckitt Benckiser, reported a slump in sales as lockdowns took their “toll on the number of intimate occasions” available to single people. Usage of condoms declined because this form of contraception is less popular with those in long-term relationships.
Laxman Narasimhan, the chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, said that after a “more challenging first half of the year, relaxations of social distancing regulations resulted in improved demand for our sexual well-being products, including Durex, which saw double-digit growth in revenue”.
“This has been particularly pronounced in markets where the rate of pandemic infection has materially improved,” he added.
Bumper condom sales helped Reckitt’s health division, which also includes the disinfectant brands Dettol and Lysol, report like-for-like sales growth of 12.6% for the three months to the end of September.
Romance was not the only thing on consumers’ minds, with improved health and cleanliness also a priority for households. Reckitt reported bumper demand for its vitamin supplements, cleaning sprays such as Cillit Bang and even Air Wick air fresheners. Demand for Dettol was up a staggering 50% in the quarter, the company noted.
“Stay at home dynamics and social distancing have had significant effects on some of our brands,” the company said.
However some of the behaviour changes caused by the pandemic have been a mixed blessing for the company, which pointed to falling birth rates in some of its major markets, a trend that was expected to hit demand for its baby formula.
Nonetheless, Reckitt’s overall sales were up by just over 13% to £10.4bn in the period, which was ahead of City expectations and sent its shares up 1% to £73.06.
Richard Hunter, the head of markets at Interactive Investor, said Reckitt benefited from consumer hygiene and self-care trends but the pandemic “had moved growth to another level”.
“General attitudes to hygiene have now altered globally and the likelihood is that this new awareness is now here to stay,” he said.
“Reckitt has been an exception to the rule of generally beleaguered FTSE 100 companies, with the share price having significantly outperformed, rising by 20% over the past year, as compared with a decline of 18% for the wider index.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Durex sales surge after end of UK national Covid lockdown | Business