2016 Outlook: Sex Toy Manufacturers Discuss Trends

What pleasure products categories will grow and what product features will be most popular in the coming year? And what products will be showcased at ANME? Make a New Year’s resolution to read on and uncover predictions in the pleasure products arena.

At Doc Johnson in North Hollywood, Calif., private label executive Cheryl Hanslip sees a strong growth ahead for natural products, body-friendly materials, and products made in the U.S.

Teledildonics, better known as the marriage between telecommunications and sex toys, is on the rise. The future of the pleasure products industry is already here. Couples are finding ways to stay connected even when they can’t be physically together.” —Joanne Queenin, Sportsheets

“I think the products that will continue to grow are those designed for men, and anal sex toys,” she relates.

For ANME, Hanslip says Doc Johnson will be showcasing additions to the company’s successful OptiMALE line, American Bombshell line, and “a unique luxury couples toy that is multi-use and will soon be in everyone’s bedroom.” Hanslip adds, “We will also be celebrating 40 years of Doc Johnson.”

Kim Airs of Topco Sales in Chatsworth, Calif., notes that with devices for stimulating every conceivable body part already available, products designed to stimulate smaller areas of the body are poised for success. “For example, The Womanizer for only the clit, and Bubble Love for the same woman’s body part should see growth. For men, I believe there will be more attention given to the frenulum, the triangle of skin directly under the head of the penis, which is a real hot spot for guys. There aren’t too many products geared to stimulate only that area as opposed to the entire shaft,” she explains.

She also sees more toys coming out with the capability for control via apps and cell phones. “I also see the price coming down for these items, as the technology becomes less expensive and more people are involved in the development of them.”

Airs says Topco has a number of new items in store for ANME, and adds, “We are continuing on the success of the game-changing Twerking Butt that we launched at ANME in July, so be on the lookout for those developments.”

To reach new consumers in the coming year, Airs plans to rely a great deal on social media. “With the incredible growth of social media, it’s easy to touch consumers in ways that we have never had the opportunity to do before,” she asserts. “We recently hired several new staffers to aggressively grow our social media presence which will create more consumer awareness for the Topco brand. It’s an exciting time for the company and always a wild time in the adult toy world.”

Alain Elmaleh, president of Bodispa Wellness Products in St. Laurent, Quebec, predicts a new year in which there will be some consolidations of smaller toy companies through mergers “in the same style as Jimmyjane’s absorption by Pipedream, or Laid by We Vibe.” As to product categories, Elmaleh says, “We’ll see niches such as men’s categories, bondage and electric stimulation continue to expand. We’ll also see the growth of smaller disposable inexpensive toys, super powerful vibrating toys, and toys that don’t need batteries such as USB powered or rechargeables.” The key features that he predicts will grow in popularity are anything to do with apps, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi control. Elmaleh won’t reveal what he has planned for January’s ANME show. “It’s a surprise! Just drop by booth 109 and see for yourself,” he suggests. And what will BodiSpa do to reach new consumers? “We’ll use old-style calling, visiting and of course e-mail follow-ups.”

Joanne Queenin, executive administrator for Sportsheets International, in Huntington Beach, Calif., believes: “Sexual health products have lost their taboo with couples, especially men, and are quickly becoming go-to items to ‘bring back the spark.’ I predict that couples of all ages will grow their toy collections over the next five to 10 years.”

And what product features does Queenin see expanding? “Teledildonics, better known as the marriage between telecommunications and sex toys, is on the rise. The future of the pleasure products industry is already here,” she says. “Couples are finding ways to stay connected even when they can’t be physically together.”

At ANME, Sportsheets International will be unveiling revamped Edge and Manbound lines, and showcasing new products within these categories. “We have also added to some of our already-popular brands, and of course all our old favorites will also be on display: Sportsheets, Sexperiments, Sex & Mischief, Sex in the Shower and Sportsheets Plus.”

To reach new consumers in the New Year, Queenin has added members to her sales team. “We’ll be on the road more often to interface with our customers and train our retailers. You will see growth in our marketing efforts as well as more new team members in 2016.”

At The Screaming O/Bushman Products based in Los Angeles, marketing manager Gideon Perez offers a wide range of predictions in regard to toy products and features. “Following the success of our materials testing initiative, we’ve begun to develop our premium silicone collection to offer retailers a wider selection of body-safe, lab-tested silicone products at affordable prices,” he says. Perez feels that silicone has become an important selling point in much of the industry with consumers considering it synonymous with body-safety. He says that Screaming O has set out to make sure silicone is affordable for all consumers to incorporate into their intimate lives, and to better educate retailers, buyers, bloggers and consumers about various product materials available and body-safety.

“Many of our upcoming items include hard, non-porous ABS plastic and super-stretchy SEBS, two lab-tested, proven safe and non-toxic materials that offer unique characteristics that enhance any sexual experience in ways that other materials can’t,” he asserts.

In regard to functionality, Perez adds, “Increasing functionality and speed will always be a major selling point for new vibes and massagers, and we anticipate consumers growing to appreciate usage versatility. Many of our new rings offer design elements that make them easy to adjust and position exactly where one or both partners want them — making them truly couples-oriented intimate products.” He views body-safety and responsible manufacturing as another growth area.

For ANME, Perez is waiting for the show to unveil debut products, but attests that The Screaming O will be introducing more items “made using our lab-tested, body-safe silicone and priced specifically to assure true value to the end user and optimal margins to our supply chain.” He also reveals that a special design element, currently patent-pending, has been incorporated into several vibrating rings. “When we first introduced it, our fans went nuts, and we learned we had something special on our hands. We’ve refined it, integrated it into our new line, and sent it off to the patent office to make it officially ours.” The Screaming O has also incorporated low-frequency motors into several new vibrating items, an idea inspired by mainstream research investigating the differences between using high- and low-pitch motors for clitoral stimulation.

To reach new consumers in the New Year, Perez is planning a two-pronged approach, using both social media and direct communication as well as colorful, interactive in-store merchandising, event swag, and promotions to spread The Screaming O message to consumers.

In short, pleasure products appear to be embarking on a most “stimulating” market for the new year, with stellar new features and strong marketing ideas ahead.

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