If you think an orgasm is a gift worth giving, then you’ve probably considered snagging a sex toy for your special someone. Entrepreneurs of the industry have been working hard to rev up our masturbatory routines. As we inch further towards a new year, we’re looking at a new selection of pleasure products, which means the time is ripe to start shopping around. To help navigate through this brave new world, we decided to ask a few key players just how they helped innovate the gifts that keep on giving.
“People are getting more creative,” says Anne Hodder, sex educator and sex toy marketer. According to Hodder, we should certainly be on the lookout for innovations concerning clitoral stimulation.
Camaraderie and direct communication is going to be key for everyone’s success.
“Suction is the new cool thing,” she said. “I think people will continue to expand on that, seeing how they can incorporate different elements, like air and water to stimulate the body instead of a mechanized pounding motion.”
While unable to give much in the way of specifics, Bonny Hall, product director over at Lovehoney, told XBIZ the company will be releasing a “never-before-seen” sex toy technology at the Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo (ANME) in January show in January. She was able to confirm that remote-controlled wearables like the Panty Vibe and the Love Egg were doing well.
“The female market has been a continuing significant growth area for us, particularly with the ongoing success of our TRYST Multi-Erogenous Massager and our BUZZ Liquid Vibrator,” says Erica Braverman, marketing executive at Doc Johnson Enterprises.
“Products for penises will also continue to grow,” says Hodder. “That category has expanded exponentially since the concept became a more accessible design to more brands.”
“Over the past year, we’ve released a series of successful strokers,” says Topco COO Autumn O’Bryan. She attributes the product popularity to the company’s exclusive cyber skin material. “The actual molecular structure is so close to what the human body feels like. We’ve been able to encase that in a variety of different kinds of shells that are lightweight, easy to shelve and at affordable price points.”
Nasstoys, too, has been paying particular attention to the male market. The company is currently expanding its Maxx Men collection. The company has additional plans to launch a new line of performance enhancing elixirs and natural supplements at the ANME show.
There is, of course, another product category that has exploded over the past few years, and companies have made it a point to cater to its expanding market in the coming year.
“We’ve seen a spike within our kink category with every new release from the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise; and it seems safe to say that the ‘Fifty Shades’ craze is far from over,” Braverman explains. “The mainstreaming of the BDSM and fetish market is tremendously important to us.
“As BDSM becomes more and more mainstream, consumers are gradually starting to explore more niche products. Right now, our two fastest growing BDSM subcategories are nipple clamps and cock and ball accessories.”
Braverman says visitors can expect to see some major new releases from the Kink by Doc Johnson line at the ANME show.
“The books did a lot for the business of bondage. We saw spikes never seen before in the business,” explains Joanne B. Queenin, executive administrator of Sportsheets International. “As the last ‘Fifty Shades’ movie comes out in February we think more people will want to ‘sexperiment,’ so we are adding to our globally successful Sex & Mischief line.”
Lovehoney’s Hall expects bondage sales to peak with the release of the last installment of the “Fifty Shades” franchise. Though she also expects additional and unrelated products to do well upon the film’s release, like kegel balls and wand vibrators.
But not everyone is so enthusiastic about the film’s release. “I do not believe that over-investing in the [BDSM] product category is a sound business decision,” says Hartman of Nasstoys.
While she acknowledges that the books had a substantial impact in sales, she maintains the boom was short-lived, and has few expectations the release of “Fifty Shades Freed” will help revive the hype.
Keeping an eye on trending toys, however, is just one part of the process. The other revolves around connecting with past and prospective consumers. Different companies will take different approaches in attempts to complete the task. Nasstoys has decided to increase the variety of pigments available across multiple branded collections to cater to their expanding consumer demographic. They’ve also added bilingual members to their sales team.
Sportsheet International thinks social media is way the to go.
“It’s a great way to connect with people all over the world,” says Queenin.
For the folks over at Doc Johnson, it’s all about whom you know.
“We’re discovering that strategic partnerships in particular are going to be a more and more impactful part of our marketing mix,” Braverman explains. “When we look for strategic partners, whether they are influencers in the sexual wellness space or events with social buzz, we look for people and projects that share our core values, and who will help us reach new audiences.”
Topco has decided it needs to put more stock into its relationship with the distributors.
“We’re focusing on listening to what stores need in order to help them out on the brick and mortar side,” explains O’Bryan. “We are asking our customers directly what would help them and developing packages accordingly. We have to work together in order to succeed in this ever competitive and evolving industry. Camaraderie and direct communication is going to be key for everyone’s success.”