According to the US National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $27.4 billion, a 32 percent increase from last year’s record of $20.7 billion and up from $17.3 billion in 2014. Yes, you read that right. People all over the world are going to spend at least half the GDP of Cote D’Ivoire and more than the GDP of Senegal on gifts and experiences for the loved ones this period. Love conquers all, right?
Of course, condoms are not left out of the spending spree during the season of love. Last year, retailers in Lagos reported a 70%+ increase in condom sales and a 60% increase in sales of morning after pills, according to a Daily Trust report. In a 2019 survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) around Yaba, Ikeja and Oyingbo axes, the agency reported significant increases in condom sales.
“We do have a sharp increase, and it is expected we have more sales during Valentine’s Days because that is the day many will want to express themselves,” said Mrs Anifat Adebiyi, a store owner. “We are expecting more sales because many will still come to buy, but we don’t normally increase the price of the condoms.”
For ‘Sewa Samuel, a single media professional living in Lagos, people just want t have sex. “Valentine’s Day is a day of love. People want to have sex because that’s their idea of showing love,” she said.
Anita Osemede, who runs a pharmacy in the Surulere area of Lagos, reports over 30% increase in sales and says customers range from married couples to 21-year olds. “It’s the season of love! Of course, people want to be intimate with the people in their lives and sex is a way to do that. Besides, its kind of an informal sex holiday to some people,” she said, trying hard not to laugh.
Just like jersey sales increase during the football season and cow/ram sales increase during muslim holidays, condoms are the item of the valentine season. Also, International Condom Day is on February 13, a day before valentine’s and global bodies try to key into it to preach safe sex, especially in Africa where HIV/AIDS and similar diseases are still prevalent in high numbers.
Increased condom sales during this period are not new too as these protective efforts (like International Condom Day) have been in place for quite some time. “If they cannot abstain from sex, then they have to use a barrier protection. Yesterday and today is an opportunity for everyone to get tested for HIV. All youths should get tested to know their status; it is very easy and not painful,” said Dr Sani Aliyu, Director-General, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), in a 2018 interview with Daily Trust.
So, there you have it – the reason why you may not be able to purchase a condom at your neighbourhood store by the evening of valentines day. Enjoy and make sure you stay protected! Happy Valentine’s Day!
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