E.U. Sex Toy Brands Bolster U.S. Market With Innovation

Europeans are living the American dream. Five weeks of paid vacation, government-funded medicine and education, and a healthier approach to sexual wellness are commonplace for our cousins across the ocean. If it seems like E.U. residents have a leg-up on life, it’s probably because they do. It takes quite a bit of downward scrolling to reach the U.S.’ ranking on’s 2016 Job Happiness Index, a list that ranks job satisfaction by country. All those positive attitudes and happy workers have spawned some of the world’s best-known sex toy manufacturers. They’re eager to bring their good European vibes (metaphorically and literally) to the U.S. and change the way we think about the business of pleasure.

The pleasure products industry makes the perfect example to support workplace research. European manufacturers take up a lot of retail real estate across the world, all of which is supported through attention to detail at every step of the sales process. Lucky for us stateside citizens, we won’t be too terribly late to the (sex toy) party. Many international adult businesses have already begun to conquer the U.S. with new headquarters and fully stocked warehouses. Though global toy companies have been exchanging handshakes with U.S. executives for decades, new ventures keep popping up with the passing of each trade show. Established manufacturers are also building their teams and adding new SKUs at lightning speed. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for the Yanks. Innovative products will inevitably make the barge-bound journey to the U.S., keeping distribution warehouses and retail shelves on the cutting edge.

European pleasure businesses always begin with a global mindset. Manufacturers are quick to establish ties with the U.S. market, and most have set up shop in several places around the world.

European pleasure businesses always begin with a global mindset. Manufacturers are quick to establish ties with the U.S. market, and most have set up shop in several places around the world. “Last July, we were exactly one-year active in the American market with our own distribution center in Santa Clarita, Calif.,” says Shots Media CEO Oscar Heijnen. “Our assortment has grown to no less than 3,000 different products, and all our products are now directly available from stock there.” Global offices provide more than a shorter hop for shipped goods. On-site teams provide expertise in sales and toy trends that require a local eye. “Our offices around the globe, especially in Miami and New York, know their country and their customers the best,” says Pjur CEO Alexander Giebel. “We fully rely on their experience and work together with them very close so that all the threads come together in Luxembourg.”

International manufacturers are quick to intuit the orgasmic pulse of consumers on every continent. “You’ve really got to know your markets,” says Andrea Duffy, international sales manager at Rocks-Off. “By the time our buyers are presented with a new product, you can be sure we have invested heavily as a company, both financially and in time, to make sure the product is the best it can be.” Each market radiates something unique and requires special attention to detail at the ground level. “Presentation of the brand is everything, and it’s down to manufacturers to equip retailers with the tools to harness the maximum potential of a brand,” says Jim Primrose, international sales manager at Lovehoney. Jim’s team offers a full-service approach that leaves nothing to chance. “We include early viewings of new products, in-depth presentations to buyers, staff training programs, full merchandising and brand support, and eye-catching point-of-sale materials.”

International pleasure product companies have a knack for genuine customer service. Developing honest, attentive relationships with every client, regardless of account size, is essential for doing business with the world. “We find that personal contact is of the utmost importance, where we have to listen very carefully to our clients and pay attention to every single detail,” says Shots Media’s Oscar Heijnen. “We also have our own IT team that constantly develops and renews our [technology] systems to support the distributors as well as the retailers.” Most European companies make clear, open communication a cornerstone of their values, leading to better ethics and happier customers. “One word can describe our relationship with our customers: partner,” says Jerome Bensimon, VP of sales for Satisfyer. “We commit to a genuine partnership with all of our distributors and retailers by supporting their requests and adapting everything we can to make their job easier and smoother.”

The most savvy of sex toy companies extend the reach of their mission all the way to the consumer. Today’s sex toy enthusiasts are true connoisseurs that have grown beyond the basics, and manufacturers with a worldly view are better prepped for success. “New concepts, technology, quality and reliability are what consumers are looking for now,” says Lawrence Mark, founder of The Lovers’ Dream. “The traditional pleasure products market is still growing, and great, new revolutionary products are still to come that will keep changing the market.” Staying on top requires an honest product backed by a knowledgeable, passionate team. “We are convinced that the producer who can get the best into the ‘soul’ of the consumer will conquer the biggest market share,” says Heijnen. “We are very aware that the products should give a good vibe once picked up, and the same goes for once the consumer gets home and eventually starts to use it.”

Fret not, America. We may only be the offspring of European explorers, but our forefathers are bringing the heat, pleasure industry-style, to the States, and we’re all bound to benefit. “Our vision is to improve the love life of people all over the world,” says Pjur’s Alexander Giebel. “That is why we truly love this challenge.” After all, there’s a reason Americans clamor for products claiming to be “of European design:” because they’re well-designed, well-made, and unafraid of pushing the envelope to make life better for everyone. “This is a real revolution,” says Satisfyer’s Jerome Bensimon. “We believe we’ve entered into a new era for sexual wellness, and this is only the beginning.”

Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

More Articles


How Sex-Ed Lays the Groundwork for Well-Informed Shopping

We often do some research before making purchases, whether by delving into a company’s background, exploring specific products or simply making sure we understand how to use something before we buy it.

Nathan Hammerle ·

A Look at How Customer Demographics of Full-Size Sex Dolls Have Evolved

For a long time, sex dolls were dismissed as cheap novelties used by lonely heterosexual men. This was especially true of early, inflatable versions, which became the butt of jokes in pop culture. However, things have changed dramatically.

Rebecca Weinberg ·

Why Getting Back to In-Person Events Is Imperative for Pleasure Biz

Even before COVID-19, consumers were already increasingly shopping online. During the pandemic, that trend naturally skyrocketed, and many of us store owners and suppliers became accustomed to leaning back and managing nearly all of our business from behind a screen.

Sean Quinn ·

What Pleasure Brands Need to Know About Celebrity Endorsements

The right celebrity endorsement could skyrocket your brand into profitable relevance. The wrong one could send your brand crashing down into obscurity. While the allure of celebrity endorsements is obvious, less obvious are the risks that come with handing over the responsibility for your brand’s reputation to a third party.

Kathryn Byberg ·

The Next Wave: Pleasure Industry Execs Forecast 2024

The dawn of 2024 is upon us and the adult retail biz is buzzing with anticipation, looking forward to seeing what new, innovative pleasure products, lubricants and sensual cosmetic lines will hit the market in the coming year.


WIA Profile: April Hoopes

When you do what you love, they say, you’ll never work a day in your life — and when your job involves educating the masses about sex toys, it’s hard not to love what you do. As director of sales for pleasure brand Edonista, April Hoopes would surely agree.

Women In Adult ·

Bathmate's Tim Brown Talks Legal Standards of Penis Pump Production

Since the company’s inception in 2006, Bathmate has delivered myriad iterations of the brand’s namesake: a hydrotherapy pump utilizing warm water and suction to take advantage of the penis’s naturally hydraulic erectile function.

Colleen Godin ·

Nasstoys Marks 45 Years of Pioneering in the Pleasure Industry

Longtime pleasure products manufacturer Nasstoys, known for its vast variety of adult products and supplements, is commemorating 45 years in the business of making people happy.

Kim Airs ·

Selling Tactile Stimulation With Textured Toys

Tactile stimulation plays a pivotal role in elevating intimate encounters. As consumers recognize and explore the link between diverse, expansive sensory engagement and enhanced pleasure, we are seeing a shift toward products that go beyond basic functionality.

Carly S. ·

How Mainstream Can Show Respect in Its Appropriation of Fetish Wear

Once upon a time, fetish wear was strictly confined to kink communities and subcultures. However, it has now made its way onto the catwalk and even mainstream Instagram and TikTok. This visibility of fetish clothing raises important questions about respect for its origins and the cultural significance of fetish wear.

Countess Diamond ·
Show More