(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Coronavirus outbreak: Condom sales in India go through the roof

Stockpiling of groceries and essentials aside, in the wake of Covid-19, pharmacists say that people are now buying condoms and other contraceptives in excess
By Sonil Dedhia | Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 24, 2020 05:26 PM IST

The coronavirus outbreak has triggered fear among people leading to a consumer behaviour shift. Buyers are stockpiling essentials as the infectious virus continues to spread around the world. With recreational places such as gyms, park and theatres under a lockdown until the end of this month, and with many corporates allowing working from home, people have started to stock up on food and hygiene products. However, a different kind of trend has been noticed with condom sales going through the roof. Many retailers have seen sales surge nearly 25% to 50% in the last one week.

“People now have a lot of time, and they are bored at home,” informs Harshal Shah, a medical shop owner in South Mumbai, adding that generally, people prefer smaller packs but the demand for bigger packs has seen a huge boost. He says, “People usually prefer buying a pack of three, but in the last week most of them have purchased packs of 10 and 20.”

Echoing a similar thought, Ajay Sabrawal, a shop owner from the same area, says, “It’s funny because generally we see a surge in sale during the festive period, especially during New Year. People are stocking up medicines and are also buying condoms. I have increased my stock by 25%.”

Dinesh Kumar Sharma who works at Shiv Medicos, DLF Phase 1, Gurugram says, since the past one week he has seen a spike in demand for contraceptive pills and sex protection gear. “Jo log condom ke pehle ek ek packet le jaate the, woh ab do do packet le jaane lage hai. In products ki sale ek-do hafto se increase hui hai, specially jab se malls ka shutdown hona shuru hua hai.”

An employee from Apollo Pharmacy, DLF Phase 2, Gurugram says, “There has been an increase in the sale of condoms and other birth control products. In fact, the demand is superseding the supply.” Suresh from Isha Medicos, Lajpat Nagar, Delhi confirms the trend of increase in sale of birth control products. “There is a noticeable increase in the sale of condoms since the time of the shutting down of offices and markets.”

Buying a condom is not considered taboo anymore. Interestingly, even women don’t shy away from buying condoms now. Vishal Joshi, who owns a medical shop in South Mumbai, says, “The percentage of females buying condoms is more than men. Many housewives are also asking for condoms. There is an increase of 15% in sales.” Joshi adds that apart from condoms, the sale of emergency contraceptive pills, which otherwise is quite low, has also shown an increase during this time. He says, “This kind of demand is unforeseen. Never in my life did I think that a virus would increase the sales of contraceptive products.”

A popular meme makes the rounds on social media
A popular meme makes the rounds on social media

Sex and the cities

Sale of sex toys has also seen an increase since the outbreak of the virus. A spokesperson of an online store that sells sex toys across India revealed that they have seen an increase of around 10 to 15% but they are facing issues with delivery. He says, “There’s a jump in our sales in the last 10 days. However, due to the outbreak and Janta Curfew, all orders placed in the last two days are going to be delayed. We are trying to dispatch as many orders as possible. We have also seen a surge in the section where people can put up their sex enquires.”

One of the largest porn sites in the world, Pornhub has shared that their worldwide traffic to the site has increased by 11.6%. On a normal day, the website has roughly 120 million visitors, but with the traffic spike, almost 134 million people are getting their fix on a daily basis. The website also offered free premium content for Italy, France and Spain and saw above-average increases of 57%, 38.2% and 61.3%, respectively. The website has also come up with new section titled Covid-19 content, a bulk of which feature people have sex wearing face masks.

(With inputs from Aprajita Sharad)

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