Pleasure Product Pros Talk ‘Fifty Shades’ in New York Times Article

LOS ANGELES — The New York Times turned to pleasure products industry experts, including XBIZ Associate Publisher Sara Ramirez, to predict how the Valentine’s Day release of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film will impact sales of adult products.

Featuring the title “Sex Toy Shops Prepare for Tie-Ins to ‘Fifty Shades,’” the article also features commentary from CalExotics President Susan Colvin, Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford, Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah, and Pipedream Products CEO Nick Orlandino. In it, New York Times reporter Rachel Abrams points out how the erotic trilogy has also penetrated mainstream retail.

“Even Target, one of the nation’s largest retailers, recently began selling an official ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ ‘vibrating love ring,’ an item intended for wear by men, but not on the finger.”

Citing a report from the research firm IBISWorld that showed a 7.5 percent increase in sales of sex-themed products in 2013, pleasure product manufacturers told the New York Times how they plan to prepare for the second wave of the “Fifty Shades”-driven sales boom.

Slateford told NYT he expects that “the movie will reignite sales of the book, which could boost sales.” However, because not all of the products made popular by the book series will appear in the movie, retailers can expect different results.

“There was a worldwide shortage of pleasure balls, literally,” Slateford says. “Knowing that those aren’t going to be in the movie, I wouldn’t expect to be selling a huge amount of those.”

Estimating that Americans buy between $1 billion and $2 billion worth of pleasure products annually, Ramirez told the NYT about the rapid growth of the soft bondage product category.

“I would say that every single person has jumped on the bandwagon in terms of making toys around ‘Fifty Shades,’ ” she said.

According to the article, in anticipation of the movie’s release, adult retailer Babeland has added 20 new items to its offerings; CalExotics expanded its Scandal line of restraints and “ordered 10 times its normal amount of inventory for the six months surrounding the film.” Luxury brand Jimmyjane also is venturing into fetish with a new set of fetish kits inspired by the movie.

Manufacturers also are being careful to not overestimate demand for “Fifty Shades”-related products.

 “My personal opinion is that there’s going to be a sharp spike and then it’s going to tail off rather quickly,” Orlandino says.