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Better safe than sorry: Australia’s condom buyers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, Australians18+ (January 2013 – December 2013), n=17,761
You know what they say: if it’s not on, it’s not on. Last year, 10% of Australian adults bought condoms in any given six months, slightly down on 2012 (11%). So far, so safe. However, while condom sales remain relatively stable, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal some interesting trends among the type of people buying them.

Not surprisingly, men make up 57% of total condom buyers, with 12% of all men over 18 buying them in an average six-month period. Women make up the other 43% of buyers, with 9% of them purchasing condoms in the same time frame.

Perhaps less expected is the wide gap between male and female buyers in the under-25 age group.  While 24% of males under 25 bought condoms in an average six-month period during 2013, just 15% of young women did the same.

Among 25-34 year-olds, the gap narrows dramatically, with 23% of males and 21% of females buying condoms. This age group also comprises the largest proportion of total buyers, accounting for 41% of all Australians purchasing them.

Staying safe: Australia’s condom buyers by age/gender


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, Australians18+ (January 2013 – December 2013), n=17,761

More prophylactic demographics

More than half (55%) of buyers have a diploma or degree, and 15% are currently at university. While this can be partially ascribed to the age groups most likely to buy condoms, academics around the world have highlighted the link between education and the use of contraceptives.

Employment status also seems to have some bearing: 13% of people in paid employment bought condoms in an average six months, while only 6% of those without a job did.

Chemist or supermarket?

When it comes to place of purchase, supermarkets are far more popular than pharmacies or anywhere else, regardless of the buyer’s age, education or employment status. Of all adult Australians who bought condoms last year, 67% did so in a supermarket and 21% in a chemist. The relative ease and anonymity of a supermarket transaction compared to a chemist’s more personalised service would almost certainly have something to do with this.

After all, despite their widespread use, condoms are not a subject most of us tend to discuss with a perfect stranger…

Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Condom purchases over the last two years have remained fairly stable. However, a more nuanced picture emerges when we look at the buyer profiles for this product, with noticeable differences among gender, age groups, education and employment status.

“Nevertheless, these categories remain quite broad, and some marketers may prefer a more refined understanding of their target buyers, particularly in such a sensitive and challenging market. Roy Morgan’s revolutionary new profiling tool, Helix Personas, can provide just this — pinpointing different consumers with unprecedented detail.

“For instance, 25% of people who fall under the ‘Social Flyer’ persona purchased condoms in the last 6 months: well above the national average. Typically young, single and highly educated, Social Flyers tend to live in trendy inner-city areas and enjoy all the perks associated with this — including the fast-paced nightlife and bar scene."

For comments or more information please contact:

Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products
Office: +61 (2) 9021 9101

Related research reports

View our extensive range of Pharmacy Products profiles, including the Condoms Buyers Profile, and many more.  These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%