“We saw double-digit growth in both, sales and market shares.“

In this interview, Jürgen Heyer, Senior Key Account Manager Sex Trade at Reckitt Benckiser Deutschland GmbH, announces that Durex will stick with their strategy of innovation and communication. Meaning: The trade can look forward to more large-scale ad campaigns, special promotions, support for the point of sale, and interesting new products.

First, let’s take a look back at 2017. How did this past year work out for Durex?
Jürgen Heyer: Being the market leader, Durex can look back on a highly successful business year in 2017. We saw double-digit growth in both, sales and market shares. The development of the Durex Intense Range – including a clitoral gel, condoms, and sex toys – proved a great success as we once again managed to identify and meet the consumers’ needs. Launching at the beginning of 2017, the Intense products are now firmly established in the market. And Durex intends to continue with this successful strategy of innovation and strong communication in the new year as well.

Did you notice big changes within the product categories you offer, or maybe with respect to the distribution channels Durex is using in the adult market?
No on both counts. Our product categories and our channels of distribution proved rather stable.

Are you worried about the fact that the traditional supply chain is falling apart more and more?
On the contrary, we are very flexible when it comes to the changing needs of the trade, and first and foremost, we look at this development as a new opportunity. The online trade is quickly turning into a strategic distribution channel for our brand. But obviously, the brick and mortar trade continues to be a major and highly important channel for Durex. We will continue to work closely with our partners and support the wholesalers and their distribution channels. The main goal of Durex is to offer our products wherever our target audience is asking for them, so we will always adapt our distribution strategy to meet this objective.

What can the trade members look forward to in 2018? Which new products is Durex going to launch onto the market, and when?
This year, Durex will focus on the expansion of the Intense range. For starters, we have launched bigger packs of our Intense Orgasmic condoms in January. Intense Orgasmic is the first condom that makes sex better for both partners as it helps the female partner achieve an orgasm. Furthermore, we are going to add to our successful Natural Feeling range – expect a new condom variation with an additional lubricant coating in February. And of course, we will also have great new products for the second half of the year, so keep your eyes peeled.

Will Durex also put more emphasis on the sex toy category, or are you going to focus on your core product groups?
Durex is an expert for sexual wellbeing, so naturally, sex toys also have their place in our product range. For instance, there’s the Durex Pleasure Ring which helps men achieve longer-lasting erections – or Durex Play Delight, a great, compact mini vibrator. However, being a global market leader in the condom segment, that is our core market, and so the main focus will remain on condoms and lubricants.

Will there be large-scale ad campaigns to create awareness for your new products come launch?
As I mentioned before, a strong communication strategy is a big part of the brand’s success. There will be big multi-level ad campaigns, just like there were last year, running the gamut from traditional media such as TV to online, with special emphasis on social media. Again, we want to be where our customers are. Apart from that, it is also very important to integrate our new products in retail stores and create awareness that way.

No investment, no brand – is that what it boils down to?
The rules that apply here are the same as in any partnership – you always have to make investments!

Can the trade members look forward to more POS materials and promotions for the new Durex products?
Of course. Working with the trade and defining the image of the brand at the POS is very important to us. After all, this is the only place where we can really make the Durex brand tangible for the consumers. This is where our initiatives come to life. As our partners in the trade have come to expect, there will be special promotions on a regular basis, as well as special events such as secondary placement offers, special discounts, banners, etc.

Has the full potential of the lubricant market already been achieved, or are there still new consumers waiting to be converted into customers through information and awareness campaigns? What do you think?
Durex has been developing innovations for more than 80 years, with great success in the condom segment, the lubricant segment, and the sex toy segment. We inspire couples to try new things, to have wonderful experiences together, and to add new dimensions of pleasure to their sex life. This is less about information and creating awareness, and more about normalising these products. Sex may no longer be a taboo in our society, but many consumers don’t think of lubricants as everyday products. Instead, they consider them products you only use when you have certain problems. This kind of perception needs to change, and we are working hard to achieve that goal.