The Nigerian market has become one of the most sought after for makers of condoms on the continent.

Interestingly, the recent economic contraction has not affected the volume of sales in the country, as it continues to head North. According to a recent report from the Society for Family Health (SFH), Nigerians use an estimated number of 400 million condoms annually.

The surge in the Nigerian “raincoat” market can be partly attributed to the growing youth population and increase in reproductive health awareness among couples and young Nigerians.

Condoms are sheath-shaped barrier devices usually used during sexual intercourse to reduce the chances of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

On this week’s edition of product review, a weekly analysis where Nairametrics features products contending for leadership and prominence in Nigeria’s consumer market, we bring to you the various brands in the condom market and how they are responding to the ever-changing needs of consumers, and competing for profitability and visibility.

Brands in the Nigerian market

The Nigerian condom market is filled with several brands, for both males and females. Popular brands are Gold Circle, Durex, Fiesta, Rough-Rider, Flex, Trojan, and Kiss just to mention few. Although female condoms are available in the market, most Nigerian women are either unaware of their existence or do not believe in their effectiveness; from all indications, the female “raincoat” is yet to find a place in the hearts of many conservative Nigerian women.

The intense battle for market share has reduced the major players in the market to two: Gold Circle and Durex. Though the likes of Fiesta, Flex, and Rough Rider still pose as threats to these big players in the Nigerian market.

Gold Circle Brand

Gold Circle has been in the market since 1986 and it is one of the oldest brands in the market. The Society for Family Health (SFH) has promoted this brand and distributed it for over 20 years. Despite the general belief that it is made in Nigeria, the condom is produced in Malaysia but packed in locally made boxes by SFH at its warehouse in Lagos.

Besides the fact that it is considered very strong, it is also pocket-friendly. In fact, it is one of the cheapest brands in the market, as it is highly subsidised to ensure affordability to the poor and vulnerable in society.

Popular for its “Go for Gold” advert, many will still remember the “who get this raincoat?” advert while growing up. The video featured a conductor who found a condom on the floor of a molue bus and a woman confidently claiming it.

Many consumers believe that the packaging of this product is old fashioned and not attractive.

Durex brand 

This is from the stables of Reckitt Benckiser. Its history dates back to 1929 and it has presence in 150 countries. The brand got its name from ‘Durability, Reliability, and Excellence’. It remains one of the best-selling brands in the Nigerian market and retains over 30% share of the global market.

In 2011, it introduced Pleasuremax, making it the first condom brand to market a condom that combines ribbed and dotted textures with a shape to maximise stimulation for users.

Presently, the Nigerian market has different variants of Durex like the Featherlite, Featherlite Elite, Extra Safe. They come both in latex and rubber options, as well as in different sizes from X, XL, XXL. The brand recently launched its single condom packs, thus making the once expensive brand affordable and handy.

The brand provided over 150,000 free condoms to more than 10,000 athletes who competed in the 2012 summer Olympics in London.

Fiesta is giving them a run for their money

The Fiesta brand, from the stables of DKT International Nigeria, comes in 12 exciting variants which include the Fiesta Dotted, Ribbed, Ultra-thin, Fiesta Original Black fondly called Baba Dudu, Strawberry, Chocolate, Glow, Prolong, Extra Strong, etc.

According to the manufacturer, Fiesta Premium Condoms are 100% electronically tested and manufactured to meet the highest international quality standards and provide the ultimate in protection and pleasure for couples.

SWOT Analysis of the market

Strength

The huge young population and growing health awareness. Also recently, condom technology using modern latex and machinery has enabled manufacturers to produce condoms of high quality and minimal breakage. Factors that influence condom choice include scent, texture, lubrication, and resilience.

Weakness

Many young Nigerians still do not believe in its use, most especially in the rural areas. Many users also complained of breakage when using some of the brands. Most women also believe that the female condom is ineffective.

Opportunity

The huge young population in the country and increased reproductive health awareness has further boosted the sales of condoms in the country. Consumers continue to demand variants that will meet their needs.

Threat

Some cultural and religious doctrines do not encourage the use of condoms. Inadequate health education among the young population especially in rural areas pose further threats to the market.

What consumers are saying

A market survey by Nairametrics shows that there is a paradigm shift among the young condom users from pocket-friendly brands to more expensive condoms, especially those brands perceived to be more prestigious.

Also, word of mouth information about brands is the most common mode of communication that influences brand choice. Others include size, shape, and attractiveness of the package itself.

A visit by Nairametrics to major stores showed that many users prefer the Durex brand. According to Mr. Kalu, owner of a supermarket store in Opebi, Durex sells faster but sexually active adolescent boys buy Gold Circle largely because it is cheaper.

“Couples come for Durex and it is selling fast, while the young boys and some sex hawkers prefer the Gold Circle.”

A marriage counselor, Mrs. Ngozi Acume, noted that awareness on female condoms is still low.

“If you assess 100 women, don’t be surprised that only two would tell you they have used it once or twice and those that used it only experimented.”

According to her, the reasons for neglecting the use of female condoms are ignorance and limited accessibility.

A commercial sex worker who spoke with Nairametrics revealed that she uses Gold Circle for her customers, but if the client is a “big man” she uses Durex, citing price difference as the reason for this.

The verdict

Market survey by Nairametrics show that Durex and Gold Circle are the most patronised brands in the market, although other small players are closing the gap.

Here, it is obvious that the lesser known brands still enjoy patronage from consumers. This shows that the market is large enough to accommodate many brands. And as long as these small players are in the market, there is always the chance that at least one can move up through the ranks just by being more innovative.

Manufacturers looking for better sales in the Nigerian market must continue to churn out variants that are appealing to users. Also, the regulatory agency such as NAFDAC must ensure that only certified brands make their way to the market.

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