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Male Toys: Innovation, Quality and Variety Driving Sales

Male Toys: Innovation, Quality and Variety Driving Sales

April 20, 2016
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" We have seen more guys buying Fleshlights and strokers made of silicone these days. Guys are learning from women who’ve already been seeking body-safe sex toys. —Nick Mahler, DallasNovelty.com "

The market for men’s sex toys is evolving, and an expanding variety of men’s products means new popular products and new trends that retailers are striving to keep up with.

At Hustler Hollywood, buyer David Ballow says masturbators and dildos are its No. 1 sellers, with cock rings being another popular product. He notes that more men are shopping for sex toys than ever before. “Thanks to mainstream media embracing the culture of sexual health and positivity, we are seeing more and more straight couples exploring the prostate and the male erogenous areas. Our prostate toy sales increase about 40 percent every year.” Ballow anticipates continued strong sales for the unique B-Vibe, which simulates rimming. “It’s already flying off the shelves,” he relates. “People are also gravitating to the Nexus Sparta because of its unique prostate stimulation that applies a rubbing sensation on the prostate. LELO’s Hugo and Loki are already best-sellers and will likely remain that way.”

Ballow says he sees masturbators as being in “a league of their own. Fleshlight, for example, has a huge following, and even offers a forum online. They seem almost like a household name — everyone has heard of them.” Because men have a wide variety of tastes and budgets, Hustler offers many options including the disposable one-time use Tenga Egg, and the new multi-use disposable Fifi system, as well as a large assortment of Hustler branded masturbators. Sex enhancement toys are also extremely popular, and often go hand in hand with purchases of both male and female couples’ toys.

Ballow says that although he finds male sex toy shoppers to include just about every demographic, many couples shop for these products.

“LELO Hugo and Loki, Bathmate pumps, and the Fleshlight Stamina Training Kit are all very strong sellers.” Ballow says he believes the $75 price point is most appealing overall, and while the average amount spent on sex toys vary, $75 is a common amount.

At SexToy.com, owner Dave Levine believes that a lot of male sex toy sales are driven by the desire for self-improvement. “Pumps, extensions, strap-ons, pills to make men bigger, harder and last longer, these are all popular items in this regard,” he attests. “Additionally, men are buying masturbators for pleasure, with the larger and more life-like products gaining market share.”

Levine agrees with Ballow that the market for male sex toys is growing as it becomes more mainstream. He anticipates Pipedream’s newer, larger version of the Fuck Me Silly masturbator will continue to be successful in 2016. “The original version surprised everyone with how well it did.”

He says the popularity of male masturbation toys, sex enhancement products, and couples toys is not due to one single type of buyer. “It’s completely different. We often group all sex toys as having one buyer, but the couple who buys a toy to use together is a very different customer than the man who buys something to masturbate with alone.” The toys themselves offer totally different experiences. “Couples’ toys often involve some sort of vibration, since women love vibration, while male masturbators are more about a realistic vagina feel and look,” he attests. The demographics are also quite different between male sex toy shoppers purchasing masturbators and the average sex toy shopper. “Buyers of masturbators tend to be younger and more single than the sex toy shopper, who is usually older and married.” Levine says his most popular men’s toys are strap-ons and extensions, which are usually purchased for use by couples, and masturbators such as the Fuck Me Silly Mega Masturbator, the Full On Farrah (by Topco Sales), and the Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit. While Levine’s average overall order is about $50, the most appealing price point depends on what buyers want. “Prices range from $20 to $500,” he says.

Allison Travers, marketing manager at Eldorado Trading Company, says new technology and innovation plus education, curiosity and boredom in the bedroom, are all behind the rising sales of male sex toys. “We’re currently experiencing a shift in the marketplace, with an increase of buyers being straight men. Historically, gay men were the predominant buyers of male sex toys and the most open to experimentation. But now, with widely available education and visibility about sex toys in mainstream media, more and more heterosexual males are beginning to get over any unease about using butt plugs, Fleshlights and penis pumps.” She finds there is less stigmatization of heterosexual men exploring prostate anal play, which encourages more sales of these types of toys. “With the abundance of education about the health benefits of prostate stimulation being discussed on TV shows and in men’s magazines, there has been a jump in men purchasing prostate toys. And, many couples are looking to spice up their sex lives. Men are more comfortable with their partners bringing sex toys into the bedroom.”

Travers believes electrostimulation items such as the ElectraStim Jack Socket, app-enabled couples toys like Vibratissimo, and teledildonics such as Twerking Butt will be very popular this year. She also projects best sellers in CBT, such as the CB-6000; bondage, with items like the Manbound HogTie; and prostate massagers like Nexus Revo. While she expects continued strong sales in masturbators, both pills and couples toys dominate in terms of sales. But that may soon change. The demographic of her male sex toy shoppers is evolving to include virtually all men. “The more sex becomes a conventional topic in our society, the more we are seeing wide market appeal to young, old, gay, straight, single and married men. There’s a toy out there for everyone,” she says.

Currently, Eldorado’s most popular toys for men include sexual enhancement pills, such as Rhino 7 II, Fleshlight and other masturbators, cock rings like Je Joue’s Vibrating Cock Ring, and pumps — for example the Hydromax Xtreme. She says at Eldorado, on average, men spend between $150 and $300 on sex toys. While the less expensive price points are still the most appealing to men, she says many men are increasingly willing to spend more for quality or innovative technology.

Nick Mahler, director of sales and purchasing at DallasNovelty.com, agrees with Travers, Levine, and Ballow about the reasons for the increased popularity of men’s products. “Their popularity is due to mainstream media: the Internet, television, celebrities like Dr. Oz and Kanye West. Doctors are also talking about male sexual health and the benefits of a healthy sex life whether single or attached. The subject is no longer so taboo.”

Mahler says the market has changed a great deal since he started in the business 13 years ago. The quality of toys and the amount of toys available have both improved. “There are lots of uniquely designed butt toys for prostate and anal pleasure now being made from a variety of materials such as silicone, ABS plastics, metal, and even wood. There are also more male masturbators than ever with motorized strokers that spin, gyrate and stroke at the same time. These toys are great for our disabled customers. We have seen a huge increase in business with guys buying male oriented sex toys instead of buying their wives or girlfriends a toy to play with. They are buying more of the male chastity, CBT devices, and other BDSM related gear,” he explains. “Companies such as Sportsheets also cater to guys with items that are darker in color and more masculine looking than those directed at women or couples. They have a line called Manbound that specifically caters to the male market.”

He anticipates best sellers this year such as motorized masturbator toys as well as more unique designs in the CBT market, cock rings, and cocksheaths like OxBalls.’ “Cock rings or erection enhancers are always the biggest selling male toy for us,” he says. Products such as the remote controlled b-Vibe rimming plug, created by designer Alicia Sinclair, are selling out in all of Mahler’s warehouses. Both gay and straight men are interested in the product. In general terms, he notes that any products stamped “made in the U.S.” are a bigger seller than those crafted abroad.

With more people talking about masturbating and the ease of accessing adult content through smartphones, Mahler says he also finds strokers are growing in popularity. “We have seen more guys buying Fleshlights and strokers made of silicone these days. Guys are learning from women who’ve already been seeking body-safe sex toys.” More manufacturers are offering their classic strokers in platinum and medical-grade silicone materials for guys with sensitive skin and health-conscious attitudes.

“The hot male toys right now are the different Fleshlight products, the remote control Hot Octopuss Pulse Duo, the app-controlled We-Vibe 4 Plus, warming/cooling lubricants and several models of the OxBalls line of cock rings. We have also sold more of the remote control Aneros and b-Vibe rimming butt plugs and remote motorized prostate stimulators. Pipedream’s products that are in the $1,400-$1,500 range can’t be made fast enough.” Strap-on harnesses are also popular, he says.

Mahler sees the demographic of male sex toy shoppers to be inclusive. “We are seeing male customers that are buying a first stroker or cock ring at 18 all the way up to guys in their 70s and 80s wanting to get a little frisky in the bedroom.”

He cites average orders for men as around $175, because men are gravitating toward more high quality toys made of silicone and body-safe lubes. “Most guy toys are between $40 and $100 for masturbators, strokers, butt plugs, cock rings and high-quality lubes and toy cleaners. Since the economy has been improving, we are seeing higher order amounts.”

Tobias Baganz, merchandising executive at Lovehoney, calls male masturbators — both non-realistic strokers and lifelike realistic toys — the largest part of the male market. “They are versatile and can be used alone or by couples — the majority of our customers are actually in a relationship and are looking to spice up their sex lives together.”

Baganz cites prostate massagers and cock rings as other growing areas. “Couples benefit from them together. Vibrating cock rings stimulate both partners and also increase his erection and stamina like regular cock rings, making sex even more enjoyable for both. We have recently created a ‘Better Sex for Couples’ category that contains many cock rings.”

According to Baganaz, the sex toy market has been dominated by women’s toys, and it’s only very recently that men have begun to discover and build a sales momentum for male sex toys. “In the last two years, our male sex toys sales are up 79 percent, with dolls alone up 148.2 percent.”

And for the future? “ We have high expectations for the Sqweel XT for Men, which comes with two sets of Turbo Tongues — soft and extra firm, to simulate intense oral sex action.” He notes that the Sqweel XT is USB rechargeable, and that the Sqweel, Sqweel 2 and Sqweel Go Oral Sex Simulators for women are among the best-selling oral sex toys on the market.

At Lovehoney, the demographic of male sex toy shoppers is about the same as the company’s overall demographics in terms of age, hitting the 24-35 year old age bracket. But interestingly, women make up 68.5 percent of all male sex toys purchases, compared with making 55.3 percent of purchases average throughout the site.

Among Baganaz most popular toys are lifelike vaginas, and what he terms “non-realistic non-intimidating toys” that couples can more easily use together such as the Fifty Shades of Grey Secret Weapon Vibrating Cock Ring, Sqweel XT for Men USB Rechargeable Oral Sex Simulator, and the Fifty Shades of Grey Delicious Fullness Vibrating Butt Plug. Prostate toys are becoming more and more popular, too.

In short, the market for men’s products is becoming larger, more mainstream, accepted and viable, with solid growth apparent throughout 2016.


BUSINESS ANALYSIS

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Given the highly visual nature of adult entertainment, it is no surprise that many paysites have shown design-forward approaches — some skirting the bleeding edge, while others sought stability over... More »

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