Sexual enhancement supplements have become one of the strongest sectors of the pleasure products market. Pills, usually made from a blend of herbal ingredients, are proliferating. There are pills for bigger erections (Reload, SexVoltz), pills that boost stamina and endurance (AmErect, XploZion, Phuk, ProLifta), pills for sweetening secretions (Sweeten69), pills just for men (Reload), pills exclusively for women (Velextra).
What drives this market? What are the trends? What’s in the future?
Enhancement pills are like cigarettes. When someone is hooked on one particular brand, it is extremely difficult to get them to even try a new one, let alone switch. -Mike Kulich, Owner Monarchy Distribution.
According to Mike Kulich, owner of Monarchy Distribution, the source of Reload, “Consumers are looking for a product that works fast and lasts long. Daily supplements still sell, but what we have seen is there is a big demand for a one-shot product that someone can buy for around $10 and be ready to have sex in an hour or so.”
At BeaMonstar, which produces a wide variety of enhancement pills, marketing director Jeff Kramer finds that “consumers are much more savvy nowadays about what they put into their bodies. They want supplements that solve a particular problem or weakness. When they are focused on improving their sexual performance they demand products that really work.
“If there is a trend in sexual enhancement formulations, I believe it would be to provide on-the-spot and sustainable results to solve a perceived weakness — i.e. E.D. pre-mature ejaculation, etc. — coupled with enhanced supplements that provide additional health benefits such as more energy, sharper focus, balanced testosterone, etc. Also, more couples-focused products that allow interaction and foreplay for heightened sexual arousal.”
Taking sex enhancement pills is generally perceived as “a guy thing,” suggesting that the market is dominated by male-oriented products. For some manufacturers that’s true. Says Reload’s Kulich:
“The enhancement pill market for the most part has always been dominated by male products. We have stores that go through a full case of Reload every month. Some of our stores really rely on that type of income because they can sell volumes. Once a customer has success with a certain pill brand, they will come in and sometimes clear the shelf and buy everything they can.”
But BeaMonstar’s Kramer doubts that male products continue to dominate the market. “I don’t believe so. Many products for men have come and gone. There’s only a relative few that create products for males that truly work. I’m seeing the need to create more products for women to empower them and make them a willing participant for sexual pleasure. Women are a totally different breed and their needs are different than their male counterparts.”
BeaMonstar’a best-selling men’s products have been SexVoltz and XploZion. “Retailers are telling us that the demand for both have increased tremendously. For women Velextra is our leading supplement. There’s not much out there for women so Velextra fills a void for them.”
The woman consumer is a desired demographic. Says Reload’s Kulich, “The female market is something we have just started expanding into with our new product Satisfaction. With the increase in boutique type stores and women friendly stores, we had new customers approaching us asking for a female product. I definitely see that market starting to expand.”
BeaMonstar also offers the unisex-oriented Sweeten69, which Kramer says “has become popular as a couples product. Men are more receptive to trying things that will please their partners, so sales to men are greater. However, it’s a great product to break the ice with your female partner.”
As in all merchandising, packaging is of prime importance. Case in point: Adventure Industries is the home of two prominent enhancement brands, Phuk and ProLifta, a pair of supplements that “complement each other because they appeal to two different groups of buyers,” according to a company representative.
Phuk was introduced first and “quickly became an industry favorite. It was the high-impact packaging — along with the name — that worked to make it one of the bestselling supplements on the market.”
But then Adventure followed it with another brand, ProLifta, pitched as improving “stamina, performance, arousal, endurance.” It was designed as a “tamer option for retailers who were looking for a cleaner, more mainstream packaging. As a result, said the Adventure rep, “ProLifta gained tremendous momentum and market share.”
“Packaging is super important as it supports the brand identity and makes it easier to differentiate your products from the rest,” says BeaMonstar’s Kramer. “Give your customers value-added options like combination buys that include non-supplement products but related to sexual enhancement.”
Kulich agrees: “Packaging is another important aspect about the market. Stores are looking for something simple that doesn’t take up a lot of shelf space. All of our blisters can be hung on a pegboard behind the counter, and they also come in an eye-catching box that turns into a countertop display so the retailer can merchandise it however they see fit.”
Kulich also stresses the importance of savvy marketing. “Enhancement pills are like cigarettes. When someone is hooked on one particular brand, it is extremely difficult to get them to even try a new one, let alone switch. Because of this product loyalty, we have had to market directly to the consumers to build a demand directly from the end user. Once they started asking for our product my name, the stores and distributors began to take notice.”
On marketing, Kramer counsels, “Be straightforward and tell consumers what they can expect and how to use your products. Building a brand is super-important to gain a user’s trust. Make sure your claims are backed up with results. In your marketing message try and diminish the risk a user might have by offering a moneyback guarantee just for trying your product.”
BeaMonstar has its eye on the future. Kramer says the company “is poised to expand into product lines previously not offered. With accepted brands such as SexVoltz, Velextra, XploZion and Sweeten69, the product extensions we can offer are endless. For example, we just launched a line of SexVoltz-branded vibrating pleasure rings and bullets. They are packaged with SexVoltz capsules to make point-of-purchase easier at retail levels. No need to buy them separately anymore.
“We also just launched a ‘Naughty Couples Sexual First Aid Kit’ that includes all four male and female supplements and encourages partners to take them together. This allows the female to participate without feeling left out or suggesting she needs help.
“The future for BeaMonstar is to continue being a ‘Pleasure Maker’ with new products and combinations that are not currently available elsewhere and capitalize on our awardwinning brands.”
Update (May 16, 2013): This article originally ran in the May 2013 issue of XBIZ Premiere magazine. Since then, some of the products mentioned in this article have been recalled by the FDA. For coverage of FDA related news developments, click here.