With sex education seemingly more effective among women than men, market surveys show that increasing numbers of women are buying condoms for their men.
Condom sellers noted that Taiwan produces at least 250 million condoms per year for export and domestic consumption and that a survey by ACNielsen indicates that condom sales are rising at an annual rate of 10 percent to 20 percent in Taiwan, making condoms the consumer product with the second highest growth rate after chewing gum.
According to the condom company Durex, condoms sales are highest around Valentine's Day, with sales being 20 percent to 30 percent higher than usual and convenience stores being the main sales outlets.
The Christmas holidays and holidays that last more than two days are also occasions when condoms sell well, the company said.
Although female condoms became available in Taiwan a few years ago, consumer response has been lukewarm, with male condoms still making up the vast majority of sales around the country.
Nevertheless, when it comes to condoms, the buying power of women is on the rise. According to the Japanese condom maker Okamoto, only 20 percent of condom purchases in Taiwan in the 1990s were made by women, but the figure has risen to 40 percent today.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Lee Chao-hsi (
In addition, the publicity campaign on using condoms as a method of contraception and venereal disease prevention appears to be more effective among women than men, Lee said.
As shown by data from the Bureau of Health Promotion, 75 percent of women in Taiwan between the ages of 20 and 40, and 89 percent of married women, use condoms as their method of birth control.