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Chicago (October 30, 2012)-As we all know by now, sales in many categories declined during the recession, however over the counter (OTC) contraceptives have flourished. Sales reached $990 million in 2009, an 11.5% increase from the preceding year and have climbed to more than $1 billion in 2012. The boom may be due to the male population, as recent Mintel research reveals that 41% of men compared to 21% of women say they use contraceptives to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

“Growth in the OTC contraceptive market has been primarily driven by the tendency of many adults to postpone childbirth,” says Molly Maier, senior analyst at Mintel. “The introductions of new and innovative products that help prevent pregnancy and STDs while contributing to sexual pleasure have also aided in the success of this segment.”

Not surprisingly, Mintel’s research reveals that the primary usage for contraceptives is to prevent pregnancy (71%). More than one in four women (27%) say they use contraceptives, such as birth control pills, to help regulate menstrual flow while 16% do so to regulate hormones.

Just more than half (51%) of Mintel respondents say they use some form of contraception and condoms are leading the pack with 22% of people saying that is what they rely on most often. Following condoms, 11% of people are looking for a more permanent method by relying on a vasectomy, tubal ligation, hysterectomy or sterilization. Nine percent use birth control pills and 3% partake in a natural/rhythm method of birth control.

While a significant amount of people, 40%, agree that they ‘take responsibility for contraception myself’, 17% prefer to let their partner handle it. In addition, nearly one-third (30%) of people say they stop using contraceptives when in a long-term relationship and 29% think ‘dealing with contraceptives can ruin the mood’. Another 29% want to keep things under wraps and prefer discreet packaging for condoms.

“This implies that many people are rather passive when it comes to contraception and marketers of these products may be able to drive sales with campaigns that encourage people to take responsibility for their sexual health,” adds Molly Maier.