Online searches on sensual items shoot up 347% during MCO


ONLINE search for sensual toys and vibrators in Malaysia skyrocketed 347% during the Movement Control Order (MCO), according to a study.

iPrice Group Sdn Bhd told The Malaysian Reserve that consumer interest also jumped 61% in condoms and 79% in fertility test kits during the stay-at-home period.

“This potentially reveals that most Malaysians are equipping themselves with necessities which aid in responsible family planning, while keeping it enjoyable with their partner,” the company said in an email yesterday.

Malaysia is the world’s largest condom maker, as well as medical gloves manufacturer, both made from rubber.

Last month, the media reported on the risk of a worldwide condom supply shortage after Karex Bhd, which makes one in every five condoms globally, had to temporarily stop production at its Malaysian factories due to MCO.

Almost all sectors in the economy have resumed operations this week after 47 days of strict MCO.

The online shopping aggregator also highlighted that consumer interest in face masks spiked by 648%.

“In the medical supply category, it was unsurprising to see a 648% increase in search interest for face masks (such as surgical masks and N95 masks). However, it was unexpected to also see a rise in interest for sex-related products such as sensual toys, vibrators, fertility test kits and condoms.”

iPrice also found local consumers were eager to search for self-grooming products. For instance, trimming clippers saw a 17,652% increase in searches.

“The MCO began in mid-March and has been ongoing for more than four weeks. This also meant that most Malaysians probably have overgrown hair and are looking for ways to take care of it,” it said.

The research was conducted by analysing online search behaviour of close to one million visitors on iPrice Malaysia between March 18, when the MCO started, and April 17.

iPrice compared the search impressions data to consumers’ online search behaviour that were recorded between Feb 16, 2019, and March 17, 2020.

Besides health and beauty products, the company noted that searches for kitchen appliances also dominated the market such as bread makers (7,587%), stand mixers (3,048%), air fryers (2,029%) and ovens (1,058%).

“This suggests that people are showing interest in experimenting with various kinds of recipes,” iPrice said.

Other products that gained consumer interest were electronics, including laptops (299%) and tablets (1,125%).

iPrice said Malaysians probably purchased more laptops or personal computers to equip themselves to work-from-home.

Gym equipment, such as yoga mat (2,016%) and skipping rope (4,528%), also saw an exponential increase in consumer interest, which iPrice attributed to people’s motivation to do indoor workouts.

Due to the inability to go out and boredom, the study also revealed that searches in gaming products have surged — Nintendo Switch (1064%), board games (4,336%) and Animal Crossing (17,427%).