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Working Woman. 1985 Oct; 68, 72, 74.Liberation in combination with legislation gives new life to condoms, which now find their way into the purses, brief cases, and shopping carts of increasing numbers of women. The number of female buyers of condoms has risen from 15% in the mid-1970s to perhaps as high as 40% today, thanks to the increasing number of women who are dissatisfied with contraceptive alternatives and a condom industry that is playing to its growing female audience with new packaging and marketing methods. The condom has a distinct advantage in an age when women are more concerned and knowledgeable about their bodies than ever before. The condom has no side effects. The $200 million-a-year condom industry enjoys a current growth rate in sales of about 12%. This is not too bad for a product that has been termed "16th century technology." Currently, Youngs, Schmid, and approximately 4 dozen other US condom companies mold, dry, test, roll and pack nearly 1000 condoms a minute, 400-500 million condoms a year. The Japanese buy 612 million condoms a year. Fewer than 15% of all US couples use condoms, which account for a quarter of the $800 million-a-year contraceptive industry. The growth in condoms was steady until about 3 years ago when it really started to move. There are 3 reasons for the growth spurt. In 1977, the Supreme Court struck down some lingering blue-nosed state laws that regulated who could buy condoms (not minors), where and why they could be sold (only in pharmacies for "disease control" rather than for contraception), how they could be advertised to the public (not at all), and where they could be displayed (out of sight). At the same time, a number of female contraceptive methods considerably trendier and more sophisticated than condoms fell into public, if not medical, disrepute. Finally, venereal diseases have grown in number to fill a category called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that includes more than 30 ailments. Condoms are the only contraceptives that also are effective venereal disease barriers. Consequently, condoms moved from under the counter to in front of it. Most notable of the condom industry's recent innovations have been unisex merchandising. It was decided that a lot more women would buy condoms if the packaging had femine appeal. With or without a yuppie clientele, the condom business is so healthy that existing advertising strictures have not hampered sales. Women are the primary purchasers of condoms in pharmacies and grocery stores.
[Unpublished] 1981 Dec. 45 p. (Contract No. NEB-00290-C-103700 EGYPT)The findings of a series of focus group interviews conducted by the Family of the Future in September 1981 on family planning methods and products are summarized in this report. Focus group interviews are conducted with about 8-10 respondents simultaneously. Using a discussion outline, a moderator guides the topics of conversation for about 90 minutes. 19 focus groups were conducted. The composition of these groups were current and previous users, spouses of users, and nonusers of oral contraceptives (OCs), tablets, and condoms. Across all user groups, participants felt that family planning was an important issue and that it was necessary for a man to have fewer children and to raise them well. A few of the women already had large families of 5-7 children but still considered family planning to be a good idea. Most respondents considered 2-3 children to be a good size family; 4-5 children was regarded as a large family. Several of the women who were nonusers of contraception had exposure to various family planning methods, both modern and traditional. Others had never used any contraceptive method. Women's responses for not using contraception differed from men's. In both user and nonuser groups, most of the men and women interviewed indicated that the decision to adopt family planning methods was a mutual decision between husband and wife, but many men felt that it is primarily the man's responsibility to decide. On the whole, the responsibility for using a particular method was considered to be the wife's. 5 focus groups were conducted to study the use of OCs: 2 with current users, 2 with previous users, and 1 with husbands of current users. Among both current and previous users, the OC was considered to be safer than the IUD and more reliable than the condom. All respondents thought OCs were very effective if used properly. Spouses of current users also noted that it caused certain side effects such as swelling, bleeding, and drowsiness. The quality and price of the product were considered more important than its packaging. OCs were considered to be widely available, and in regard to the new product, all the women liked the blue plastic compact. To study consumer perceptions of foaming tablets, 6 focus groups were conducted. Both previous and current users did not think the tablet was a very effective birth control method. Current users were satisfied with the tablet to the extent that the side effects were more tolerable than using OC or an IUD. Most respondents preferred the box of foil packages to the tube. Several respondents had heard about condoms on the radio or in family planning centers, and it was perceived as a safe and reliable birth control method. Packaging appeared to take 2nd place to the quality of the condom. Both men and women indicated that the men buy the condoms for themselves.
[Unpublished] 1982 Feb 22. 16 p.Family of the Future (FOF) conducted between December 14 1981 and January 7 1982 interviews with 394 people at 10 pharmacies and 3 clinics, to determine awareness of family planning methods. Among the 394 people interviewed 100 did not use contraception, 98 were condom users, 100 were oral contraceptive (OC) users, and 96 were vaginal foaming tablet users. Mean age of males was 34.7, and mean age of OC users was 31, of foaming tablet users was 30, and of nonusers was 28. In general, men were better educated than women. 44% of condom users said they liked them because of lack of side effects; 1/3 said the condom reduced sensitivity; 90% of users knew the Tops brand, followed by the Tahiti brand. 99% bought condoms at a pharmacy; 7 out of 10 would buy Tops; 4 out of 10 said they first bought a condom under advice of the pharmacist. 76% preferred the inner package to be covered on both sides; 2/3 of respondents said they had seen advertisements about Tops. 49% of OC users thought it was the most effective method; mean duration of pill use was 5.3 years. 33% had first heard of OCs from a doctor; 90% of users took the pill correctly and the most common side effect was headache. 50% of women said neither a doctor nor a pharmacist had ever discussed side effects with them. Anovlar was the best known brand, and 95% of users were satisfied with the brand they used. Users of tablets liked the lack of side effects best, although 6 out of 10 did not like the bubbly, warm, and burning sensation after insertion; 4 out of 10 users said their husbands could feel the tablet during intercourse. 90% of users had heard of the Amaan brand, and 82% currently used it. 9 out of 10 users bought the tablets at a pharmacy, and 90% said they had read the instructions; 4 out of 10 had heard of the tablets from a doctor. Among nonusers of contraception 3 out of 10 were pregnant, 2 out of 10 were breastfeeding, and 2 out of 10 said they wanted more children. 6 out of 10 had previously used the pill, 1/4 the IUD, and 20% the condom. Nonusers reported that they would start family planning in about 1 year. 6 out of 10 said they would use the IUD, 3 out of 10 the pill, and less than 10% the tablet. The pill was chosen because of its effectiveness, but prospective users knew they would experience some side effects. 90% of prospective IUD users also were expecting side effects. The IUD was chosen mostly because of its effectiveness and because it does not need sustained motivation. Over 90% of users would like more information about family planning methods; about 7 out of 10 respondents knew of FOF.
Washington, D.C., Futures Group, . 72 p. (Project No. AID/DSPC-CA-0087)This study of commercialization of contraceptives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti was conducted to generate information about packaging design, logos, names, colors, and prices that could influence potential users to buy contraceptives and to determine factors related to uses of methods that could influence their choices. Specific study objectives were as follows: determining certain characteristics of the market such as incidence of contraceptive use and user's age and socioeconomic class; determining the list of benefits sought by users and potential users of contraceptives, the ideal contraceptive, usage information, and incidence of selling price; identifying certain factors, i.e., needs, desires, opinions of present services; and determining preference for brand name, packaging design, logos, and colors of contraceptives. A total of 300 interviews were conducted--100 women for the oral contraceptives (OCs), 100 women for the foaming tablets, and 100 men for the condoms. The following were among the study findings: in general, all respondents were aware of 1 contraceptive method; from 100 interviewed, 82% knew about OCs, and 85% of the 82 were past users; 71% of the present OC users (49) purchased their pills at a pharmacy, and 21% preferred the Ortho Novum brand; 24% of the 82 ever users would prefer 2 cycles in a package, and the same percentage preferred more than 3 cycles; among the 100 interviewed regarding the condom, 68% were past users of a contraceptive method from which 74% (50) were condom users, and 69% were presently using the condom; in general, reasons given for using condoms were mainly easy availability, no side effects, no medical visit, and disease prevention; the benefits sought from the ideal condom were thin, resistant, inexpensive, and available by unit; among the 69% current condom users, 29 buy them in a pharmacy or small shop and most of them asked for Tahiti brand; respondents said they are willing to pay anything less than US$1 for good quality condoms (they indicated that Tahiti was "not good quality"); 70% of those interviewed about foaming tablets knew about this method, but only 20 respondents were past users of the tablets and 35 were actual users; most foam tablet dropouts considered the method inefficient; reasons given by respondents for having chosen foaming tablets were recommended by relative or friends and do not require daily utilization; and 66% of foaming tablet users bought their products in a pharmacy.