The Future of Adult Retail

Stephen Yagielowicz
Recently, XBIZ Video magazine asked several industry players; "What does the future hold for adult retail?"

Here's what they had to say:

The line between the adult retail industry and the mainstream retail industry is blurring. Syren's latex garments have always been popular in the fetish scene and now they are also appearing in fashion magazines, on MTV and in major motion pictures. Our customers always are looking for something new and exciting. I feel that the future of adult retail will rely on adopting mainstream visual merchandising practices and in selling products that incorporate current design trends.
— Jeff of L.A., Latex Department Manager and Designer of Stockroom, Syren Latex and Stormy Leather

As more companies emerge in the "sex-positive" and "women friendly" niches, and as store owners up the ante by raising quality standards and store environments, the adult store will evolve into a more welcomed member of the community, and along with this will be more general acceptance of our product category in our society.
— Jonathan Plotzker, Senior Director of E-Commerce and Merchandising of Good Vibrations

I don't think adult retail stores are going anywhere. We are visual people and we need to touch and feel images in 3-D. I think Americans are still going to visit the retail stores and there are a lot of people who want to take that drive and view a hundred titles on a wall instead of clicking through box covers online. I think the consumers who visit adult stores and those who order online are two separate markets — different demographics. For chrissakes I still get calls asking if we carry VHS! I understand the trend of people shopping online, but I believe there will always be a healthy market for retail stores too.
— James Melendy, President, Black Market

I feel that the future will be bright for those that are willing to adapt and evolve with the new marketplace. However, those that refuse to adapt and limit themselves to the old business models will be hurt. I see a lot of stores not being able to stay in business, which will result in the adult industry losing footing in those areas as the grandfather rights evaporate. Hopefully, the more successful chains and business people can step in and snatch those locations up, but otherwise those areas will begin to be under-served and those customers might turn to the e-tailers for their business. That might seem great for the e-tailers, but with the amount of free content available on the web, those customers might end up being turned from paying customers to free down-loaders, which isn't good for the industry. I have no doubt that the stores that offer competitive pricing, a superior shopping experience and make smart buying decisions will continue to thrive.
— Nate Glass, Buyer/Product Manager, Dreamers

The adult retail market can continue to thrive for many years if the studios produce content that is outstanding enough for customers to want to own it. If movies are available for download on the Internet the same day they release on DVD, tangible sales will definitely be affected. Ask yourself, how good does a Hollywood movie have to be to get you and your family out of the house to watch it on the big screen? New delivery methods will compete with old and evolution is inevitable. What the minority is today will become the majority eventually. VOD and IPTV (digital steaming delivery) are the future of adult entertainment.
— Adella O'Neal, Publicist, Digital Playground