Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, the maker of the world’s most popular condom brand Durex, wants to change the way condoms are sold in India. It will now sell condoms in sachets—small packaging that helped personal care product companies to get villagers to buy shampoo.
So far, condoms have been sold in boxes printed with vibrant colours or pictures of scantily clad models. On Friday, Reckitt Benckiser launched “Durex Jeans” in a sachet containing a pair of condoms which fits well even in pockets of body-hugging denims. The sachet is priced at Rs25.
“The packet, the slimmest condom packet in India and worldwide, disappears in your jeans pocket,” said Rohit Jindal, director (marketing) Reckitt Benckiser India. Going by the teasers before the launch and upcoming campaigns, featuring Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh, Reckitt Benckiser’s target audience appear to be those who depend on mobile apps such as Tinder for dating.
The price of Durex Jeans is far lower than the retail price of other Durex condoms. At present, the retail price of Durex condoms starts at Rs55 for a pack of three and Rs150 for a pack of 10. So, the price of one piece works out to Rs15-18.33, while a single piece of Durex Jeans would cost Rs12.50.
Reckitt Benckiser has been facing stiff competition from new comers such Skore, sold by TTK-Protective Devices Ltd, and the popular KamaSutra, made by the Indian unit of Australia’s Ansell Ltd, Mankind Pharma’s Manforce, endorsed by pornstar-turned-actor Sunny Leone and Moods, made by HLL Lifecare Ltd, a Government of India enterprise. These condoms are sold at a starting price of Rs80 for a pack of 10.
This is the first time since Durex was launched in 1997 that Reckitt Benckiser has lowered its prices, shedding the non-mass market tag. Durex and Kohinoor, a mass-market condom brand sold by Reckitt Benckiser, have been losing market share for the past few years, The Economic Times reported in June 2016, quoting Nielsen data.
Earlier this month, Business Standard reported that Manforce leads the market with a 32% share, followed by Moods at 16-17%, Skore at 10%, Kohinoor at 7-8% and Durex at around 2-3%.
Jindal, however, claimed that metro-centric brand Durex has around 8% market share.
The male condom market in India was estimated at $152 million in 2011, according to a report by market research agency Ken Research.
According to Jindal, India is the first country to launch condoms in the new packaging or a sachet of two units. “Another 6-7 countries may follow,” he added.