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The global condom market has been forecast to hit a market value of US$5.4 billion by 2018, with the industry set to be driven by the growing concern towards the spread of various sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS and the need for a safe and cost-effective method of contraception.
Evidence of condom use dates back to 1220 B.C. in Egypt, according to Durex. Today the condom is morphing beyond its utilitarian functions -- protecting against pregnancy and disease -- into a kind of entertainment product, setting the stage for growth.
One of the most devastating diseases to affect humanity is AIDS. As of 2011, about 35 million people were surviving with this life-threatening infection worldwide, while over 2.5 million newly infected cases were reported. In terms of death toll since the spread of the disease, about 30 million people have succumbed to date, with the year 2011 alone accounting for over 1.7 million deaths.
Against this backdrop, condoms play a key role in the control of sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STIs/STDs), preventing unwanted pregnancies and enabling family planning.
Social marketing programs and public health campaigns promoting greater awareness, commercial advertising, expanded distribution channels, and use of condoms by unconventional users such as gays have resulted in an unprecedented increase in sales of condoms globally.
In July of this year, the world's two leading condom makers turned to social media and non-network broadcast venues to wage war in the US market, where sales now top $430 million annually.
Determined to steal sales from Trojan -- long Americans' go-to condom brand -- Britain's Reckitt Benckiser Group is doing everything from sponsoring online contests to hosting parties for influential bloggers and sexy celebrity couples (including Ice-T and Coco) to draw buzz for its Durex brand.
Although Durex has become a generic term for condom in much of Europe, the brand has only a 15% share of the US market. Church & Dwight's Trojan dominates with 69% of sales. At $33.6 million, Trojan's US advertising budget was about 26 times as big as Durex's last year.
Distribution-wise, condoms are increasingly being picked up from self-service counters available at drug stores, supermarkets, and more specifically online. Internet is catching the fervor of users who prefer to buy condoms discreetly.
Globally, the condom market is expected to witness steady growth in the next few years, owing to an increase in the overall population and the growing usage of condoms.
For more information on the global condom market, see the latest research: Global Condom Market
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