Condom purchase behaviour mostly unchanged—except for gay men

brightly coloured condoms in packets

At 11%, the proportion of Australian adults buying condoms in any given six-month period remains unchanged since 2011, with 59% of total purchasers being men and 41% being women, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.

This gender skew is evident across all age groups. Younger Australians aged between 25 and 34 years remain the most likely age group to purchase condoms in an average six months (27% of men; 21% of women), followed by the 18-24 bracket (25% of men, 15% of women).

Relationship status has some influence on whether someone buys condoms or not. People who are engaged/planning to marry (20%), single (17%), or in a de facto relationship (15%) are above average for purchasing prophylactics, while those who are married (9%), separated (6%), divorced (3%) or widowed (1%) are less likely to do so.

One of the segments most likely to buy condoms is parents with kids aged under 16 at home (16%), particularly those whose children are very young: 27% of parents with infants aged 0-2 years and 20% of those with children aged 3-5 years buy condoms in an average six months, with the proportion decreasing among parents of older children.

“Since 2011, the proportion of Australians buying condoms has not changed noticeably; nor has the fact that men are markedly more likely than women to purchase them, or that younger adults are more likely to buy this kind of product than those aged 35+,” says Andrew Price, General Manager Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research.

“However, it is interesting to delve a bit deeper and discover that people planning to marry are more likely than their single and de-facto counterparts to buy condoms: possibly a nod to the traditional social preference for marriage before kids.

“Once kids are part of the equation, though, condom-purchasing rises again.

“One segment of the population that has shown a growing incidence of condom-buying over the last few years is gay men: between 2011 and 2015, the proportion buying condoms in an average six months has sky-rocketed from 21% to 32%.

“While the reason for this growth is unclear, it certainly provides food for thought for condom brands wishing to take advantage of this trend.”

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