Execs of the 2017: Retail Industry Leaders Review Top Consumer Trends

Execs of the 2017: Retail Industry Leaders Review Top Consumer Trends

XBIZ captures the thoughts of the adult retail industry’s luminaries in business development as we sought their take of the year 2017.

New business is the lifeblood of any business. And the front-line business development executives who foster growth for their enterprises are priceless members of the team, second to none.

Our Kink by Doc Johnson line has seen huge success throughout 2017 and has shown no sign of slowing down. -Kristen Denton, Account Manager, Doc Johnson

The following question about the year in review was asked to those running for the XBIZ Exec Award for Business Development Executive of the Year:

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

Lupe Martinez
International Business Development Executive, CalExotics

“This has been an exciting year for CalExotics, and one of the categories we saw tremendous growth in was our rechargeable products. With more options than ever, consumers are becoming more price-conscious and demanding good quality toys at attractive price points. Our team has worked diligently to bring a wide array of items that fit into this category. Our smoking hot Red Hot Collection and our fun and fast-selling Mini Marvels were designed with this in mind: functional, powerful and priced to move. This summer, we took it a step further with our irresistible Tiny Teasers. These are the smallest and strongest rechargeable products on the market, with an MSRP that can’t be beat.”

Ryan Fraga
Director of Sales and Operations, Oxballs

“This year has really been wild for Oxballs. For example, we launched eight original designs in the second quarter of 2017, with styles ranging from basic cock rings to crazy, elaborate, complicated and even hardcore toys. And all of these designs have not only grabbed shelf space quickly, but have had maintained growth for retailers. My overall perception is that the market is hungry for well-designed men’s products, which leaves Oxballs in a great position. What’s cool about this is it’s not just the basics or the low-priced items that are driving the volume in our business; the larger, more interesting and even fringe designs are proving to us that consumers are interested in exploring bold products.”

Kristen Denton
Account Manager, Doc Johnson

“Our Kink by Doc Johnson line has seen huge success throughout 2017 and has shown no sign of slowing down. The popularity of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has had an enormous impact on sales, especially for the BDSM/fetish category. We saw it with the first release of the book in 2011 and then, the release of the first ‘Fifty Shades’ movie in 2015 — and most recently, with the film sequel, ‘Fifty Shades Darker.’ With the ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ film releasing soon, we expect this trend will only gain even more momentum in 2018. Furthermore, while we’ve seen the spike in demand for BDSM products ever since the first wave of popularity from the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ franchise, we’re now observing — from web analytics — more and more people moving beyond ben-wa balls and exploring deeper into the world of BDSM/fetish play, with search terms like ‘cock cages,’ ‘nipple clamps’ and even ‘fuck machines’ becoming more commonplace.”

Brent Aldon
Director of Sales and Marketing, Aneros

“The market and consumer trend that generated the most business this year is still the category of sexual health and wellness. Aneros, the only medically patented product in our industry, paved the way for our brand as the pioneers of this category. Through our intensive marketing initiative both in the adult and mainstream industries, we consider it our responsibility to support progressive sex marketing and education. With our intensive educational support, it has also paved the way for further interest in education — especially with retail staff to evolve in furthering their education and careers in our industry. Aneros is aligned with their goals and missives, which aim to provide better resources and create a more open dialogue about this category: careers in sexology, sexual health, sex education, etc.”

Monique Carty
Director, Nexus Range

“We specialize in prostate massage; so, for us, this will always be where the most business is generated. In the past, the majority of sales would have been to the gay market. But in the last three years, we’ve seen a real shift in this. On hearing the benefits, straight men have become really curious when it comes to prostate massage — and with the right information and education readily available, this curiosity has turned to sales. We recently launched Revo Slim because men are wanting to invest in the best product available but feel the shaft on previous models is too big. We are certain this is going to be our best-selling item before the year is out.”

Rebecca Weinberg
General Manager, XR Brands

“While role play has always been a huge part of the BDSM scene, we’ve seen it expand deeper into vanilla bedrooms than ever before. This is particularly shown in the performance of our Tailz line, which has exceeded all of our expectations. We’ll be expanding it in early 2018 to keep up with the consumer demand. Additionally, our customers are asking for more products in puppy play and other role play arenas while demanding different, often harder bondage items to spice up their relationships. We couldn’t be more optimistic about 2018.”

Carrie Smith
Product Development Manager, Wicked Sensual Care

“What we have seen in the last year is a definite upswing in the concept of self-care, and intimate care is an important piece of that puzzle. Wicked Sensual Care was built on the theory that better sex makes for happier people. People are now embracing their sexuality as a vital part of their personal wellness. They are experimenting with different types of play and are beginning to understand that lube can help to make everything feel and taste better. The idea that an easily accessible and relatively inexpensive product such as personal lubricant can make a significant, positive impact on someone’s life has allowed us to see huge growth in all product categories.”

Kate Hodgson-Egan
International Sales Manager, Lovehoney

“This year, we launched the finale in our Fifty Shades of Grey collection, Fifty Shades Freed. We found the interest overwhelming in the gift set in the range, Fifty Shades Freed Pleasure Overload: 10 Days of Play Couple’s Gift Set. The gift set consists of 10 mystery doors revealing sensual pleasure toys and bondage play accessories for both him and her to enjoy. These products have been co-designed and developed by ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ author E.L. James, and we expect the sales of the gift set to soar in the run-up to the launch of the ‘Freed’ movie on Valentine’s Day 2018.”

Simon Smith
Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, We-Vibe

“Our continued research and understanding at We-Vibe into how consumers prefer to shop has really helped us achieve continued growth as a company. Realizing that each consumer is different — which includes buying preference for in-store or e-commerce, buying by product category or by brand, and preferred buying channel — have all contributed to a better understanding of the desired consumer experience. This knowledge helps us direct our efforts in terms of product development, marketing and PR efforts and our overall business development plan.”