Interest in luxury items is at an all-time high and has been for years. Manufacturers and retailers alike have successfully capitalized on this trend since its inception, and we at SexToyDistributing.com have noticed a shift in what typically defines something as “high end.” At one point, high-end products had signature aesthetic elements – shiny accents, gems, or simply a high price with a beautiful box – but the knowledge and need of the average consumer has stretched beyond the superficial, and manufacturers are taking note.
People purchase high-end products for a variety of reasons, a majority revolving around the strong emotional connection we have to nice things. Whether or not we can afford the high price tags, we often purchase luxury goods to prove something to ourselves or others, or simply treat ourselves with something special — and if someone compliments it, that’s a bonus. But the concept of luxury in the sex toy world is unique in the sense that we’re not purchasing a $150 vibrator with the same intentions as, say, a Chanel handbag or fancy car. That luxe vibrator (likely) isn’t going to make the rounds on social media or be a conversation starter at your next luncheon – it’s something that’s shared primarily with only our most intimate partners (or just us), which means that concept of “treat” or “reward” takes the cake as a No. 1 reason to purchase a high-end, higher-priced pleasure product.
Thinking beyond high price tag, fancy packaging, or blingy accents and focusing on function, technology, and materials will give shoppers something they can trust in – and increases the likelihood of having made a loyal repeat customer.
So how do we appeal to buyers looking for something extra-special but aren’t necessarily inspired by blingy accents or a matte black box? Sales staff must be able to emphasize attributes other than the surface-level glitz and truly understand what makes something “high end” in this day and age.
Materials is a hot topic in the sex toy world and it probably always will be. Silicone has become a standard – and rightfully so – but being able to feature items that utilize additional body-safe, luxe materials can turn something ordinary into something extra special.
When it comes to high-end materials, nothing beats the gold (or platinum) standard. Nickel-free metals make for beautiful sex toy material for so many reasons, but their aesthetic is just one element that makes it luxe.
For example, the Inmi D-Oro 24K Gold Plated Warming Vibrator’s 24-karat gold plating not only looks beautiful, but the plating allows the temperature to evenly distribute along the surface.
This is a big one. In the past, products that qualified as high-end didn’t necessary function any better than their lower-end counterparts, but because of their superficial accents, they passed the test. The next generation of consumers are looking for way more than that, which is why it’s important to pay attention to what the products promise to do. With this in mind, there are several products that are often left out of the “high end” category but deserve just as much attention:
• Love dolls are some of the priciest sex products available, and for good reason! These expertly made products are created for way more than pleasure; they function as a girlfriend/boyfriend experience (or as complete as an inanimate object can!) and play an important role in their users’ lives. Manufacturers like NextGen, an exclusive for Sex Toy Distributing, offer full-size dolls that can be positioned with ease and customized with wigs and clothing, and this brand offers one of the industry’s only male dolls (his name is Dorian), which has set a new standard for this kind of luxe product.
• Sex furniture is usually the highest-end product found in adult stores and can range from hand-crafted BDSM equipment – like a bondage bed or self-supported sex swing – to benches and chairs made for enhanced (and sometimes more comfortable) sex positions. Not all stores have space for the larger-sized pieces, but items like the Obedience Extreme Sex Bench from Master Series come disassembled and in a manageable horizontal-shaped box. And remember: these kinds of products aren’t just for kinky customers; they allow for deeper penetration and maintaining sex positions that might be too painful or tiring to hold without support underneath!
• Sex machines have successfully entered the high-end market, thanks to their high-tech functionality. These products range from handheld automatic strokers to high-RPM thrusting machines and provide a wide array of physical sensations and functions that no other sex toy (or, sometimes, human) can.
Items with unique and innovative new features can easily be sold as high-end – even if they have an affordable price tag – and the current incarnation of “luxury” sex toys tends to focus more on their features than their physical appearance or cost.
TENGA strokers and their Iroha-brand massagers are affordable, yet some of their newest releases boast features that you can’t find from their competition: The unique Iroha Sakura vibe, for instance, has a near-silent motor, a feature that’s still relatively difficult to find; and the TENGA Flex features a spiraling motion that creates a suction sensation unlike any other stroker in its category.
Luxury items have really come into their own in the last five years or so, and rethinking what we typically consider “high end” can expand the potential not only to boost profits, but offer wider variety for consumers looking to treat themselves with something special. Thinking beyond high price tag, fancy packaging, or blingy accents and focusing on function, technology, and materials will give shoppers something they can trust in – and increases the likelihood of having made a loyal repeat customer.
Morgan Panzino is the wholesale supervisor for SexToyDistributing.com, a full-service distributor with a comprehensive inventory catering to the unique needs of adult stores online and brick-and-mortar.