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As condom sales decline, world’s largest condom company plans to start manufacturing medical gloves

The world’s largest condom manufacturer has not been spared by the coronavirus epidemic as consumption of its product has fallen by 40% in two years.

Contraception use has not increased as individuals have stayed home to prevent transmission of the virus, according to Karex Bhd CEO Goh Miah Kiat.

During the outbreak, hotels and non-essential clinics like sexual wellness centers closed and governments suspended condom distribution programs, Goh told Nikkei Asia.

The Malaysian company produces one in five condoms in the world, for a total of about 5.5 billion each year. It manufactures condoms for Durex as well as its own line of flavored condoms.

Given the often overcrowded residences of the Third World, hotels and motels provide vital private sex venues, according to Goh.

Hotels have been closed during the lockdowns and condom use in the sex industry has dropped significantly over the past two years.

Western governments have also stopped distributing condoms. “Governments around the world distribute a large portion (of condoms),” he added.

“In the UK, the NHS has closed most non-essential clinics due to COVID, and condom dispensing clinics have also been closed.”

Amid global lockdowns forcing people to stay indoors, Karex predicted double-digit growth in condom consumption.

But it is now entering the lucrative medical glove market, with plans to start production in Thailand by mid-year.

Goh said Karex will start with two production lines and 500 million pieces per year, eventually expanding to ten lines and 2.5 billion pieces. Goh said condoms and gloves are made from the same materials and technologies, but gloves have a lower barrier of entry.

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