Execs of 2015: Retail Industry Leaders Review Top Consumer Trends

XBIZ Premiere is pleased to present “Execs of 2015: The Year in Review.”

Each of the executives we spoke to below has one thing in common — they are among the finalist nominees for the online industry edition of the 2016 XBIZ Exec Awards.

Consumers do their research and ask questions when entering a store. We’ve found the best way to capitalize on this is by offering educational resources. -Austin Ferdinand, CalExotics

XBIZ captures the thoughts of these influential and motivational leaders as we sought their take of the year 2015.

The following question about the year in review was asked to those running for the Business Development Executive Of The Year:

XBIZ: What market and/or consumer trends generated the most business this year?

Colin Allerton
Director of Business Development, Adult Empire

“The trend that generated the most business this year, is not very different than the past few years. Consumers are buying high-quality productions with good lighting and camera work, featuring top stars throughout the movie — not just one top cover girl. In terms of genres, this year’s top-selling genres were, in no particular order, interracial, anal, taboo and lesbian, with lots of competition by both new and established studios. Blacked stands out as our top new studio this year. Lots of consumers buy a variety of genres from many different studios, and the main factor seems to be the high-end productions with a great overall cast.”

Kristen Denton
Account Manager, Doc Johnson

“Doc Johnson has been seeing a growing demand for prime-quality ingredients in the pleasure products market. At a time when customers have more information than ever before available at their fingertips, they want to know what is going into their products. Doc Johnson’s Platinum Premium Silicone collection of pleasure products was created with conscious consumers in mind. Silicone is the highest quality material on the sex toy market, and we make our Platinum Premium Silicone products right here in North Hollywood, Calif., where we are accountable to extensive safety regulations. Taking it one step further, we incorporated a variety of high-quality materials and designs into our men’s health and wellness collection, OptiMALE. The cosmetic products in this OptiMALE line — sexual enhancement creams, sprays, and gels — are made from natural ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe and Vitamin E. The success of these collections has shown us that people are willing to spend a little extra when it comes to higher-quality materials.”

Sabrina Earnshaw
Brand Development Manager, Lovehoney

“Lovehoney successfully launched Motörhead: The Official Pleasure Collection at ANME in July, much to the surprise and delight of the industry. The branded vibes and bullets, named after the band’s chart toppers ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘Overkill,’ are incredibly powerful. Consumers are demanding quality toys that pack a punch, and it was an added plus to work in conjunction with a band that has such a cult following. The licensing industry is recognizing the trend of brands wanting to penetrate the pleasure products market, and I am very happy to say that Lovehoney, having firmly established itself with partnerships such as ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and Bettie Page, is seen as the go-to company.”

Austin Ferdinand
Executive Account Manager, CalExotics

“Consumers are becoming more educated on sexual health and wellness topics, and this is shown when they shop for product. Consumers do their research and ask questions when entering a store. We’ve found the best way to capitalize on this is by offering educational resources. We offer education to consumers through our online community Club CalExotics. Consumers can read blogs, watch videos or get advice from our team of expert sexperts. We offer education to retailers through our in-store training and our online education portal, CalExotics Institute. Through our education efforts, we’ve grown our fan base tremendously — and this has shown in our sales.”

Zach Goode
National Sales Manager, Electric Eel

“The biggest trend this past year has been consumer education. As people have become more comfortable using pleasure products, they have become much more knowledgeable about specific functions and price points. They are no longer willing to overspend on an item unless they know it’s of superior quality and being offered at a competitive price. As a result, many companies who were previously able to get by with inferior products and inflated pricing have been forced to step up their sourcing, development and manufacturing quality. Our philosophy has always been to offer the best quality products at the lowest price. So we are excited about this trend, and our business has grown exponentially as a result of consumer education.”

Adam Hasner
Sales Manager, Evolution Distribution

“We pride ourselves on providing the widest range of genres available in the industry; as a result, we understand everyone has a different preference in what turns them on. We have seen new niches emerge over the past year, such as taboo relations, bondage/fetish, and star showcases. All of our other genres are still going very strong, of course, and will continue to do so. We are proud to provide a flavor for every viewer of porn and cater to every fantasy. It’s interesting to see how curiosity seems to have made adult entertainment consumers explore new taboos, as old ones become more mainstream. By finding and providing new niches, while still making available tried-and-true concepts, we help our customers explore their own sexual boundaries — which is fantastic.”

Briana Honz
Visual Merchandiser, Pipedream Products

“Pipedream saw an increase across the board, especially with our male categories. With the release of our new cock ring line, Fantasy C-Ringz and new Pipedream Extreme Toyz masturbators, the demand was impressive. Although we did see an increase in sales with the release of the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie, we didn’t anticipate the hype to be as great as the initial launch of the books. Fetish Fantasy Series creates a demand in itself. We released a lot of new Fetish Fantasy Series Shock Therapy items that customers were eager to get their hands on. Our products were also featured on numerous TV shows and networks, including HBO, Comedy Central, TBS, CNN and ABC, which created more demand for our products from the mainstream side. Since Pipedream offers the most diverse product ranges in the industry, we’ve been successful at creating our own market trends. We work as a team and stand behind our products 100 percent.”

Autumn O’Bryan
Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development, CNV, Inc.

“Meeting the expectations of the customers, Amazon has raised the bar. Speed, convenience and privacy are at the core of our customers’ purchase decisions. We’ve had to get much more creative on coming up with better and faster ways to get the products into our customers’ hands and improving the overall customer experience. For example, we made it easier for our wholesale customers to focus on Internet marketing and marketplace sales by improving our data feeds and order processing. We got our affiliates to upgrade to our new adult shopping responsive design platform, allowing them to market to mobile and develop sites that target particular niches. For our retail customers, we offer much faster processing and shipping times as well as improved e-mails and tracking. Additionally, we implemented and promote satisfaction guaranteed and privacy.”

Eddie Romero
Director Of Operations, Vibratex

“Consumers continue to educate themselves on pleasure products and the benefits of sexual wellness that comes from the use of these items. They continue to explore and understand their bodies as well as their partners.’ Vibratex released the Black Pearl, a pleasure piece that’s only been on the market for a little over a year but has certainly made its mark with consumers and our retailers alike. The slender, rechargeable, silicone prostate stimulator has convinced both men and couples to get into prostate play after learning the positive benefits of prostate stimulation. I believe we’ll continue to see a very strong demand from consumers for products that can excite them about the new and unexplored possibilities within their bodies through intimate products.”

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