With the opening of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, based on the best-selling book series by E.L. James of the same name, it seems like sex aids, toys, pharmaceuticals, and supplements are everywhere. Television advertisements for erectile dysfunction medications air on a regular basis. Retailers and online sites are embracing consumer interest in adult toys. There are increased sections of brick-and-mortar stores devoted to sexual enhancement supplements, condoms, personal lubricants, and vibrating devices.
Adult and specialty stores are major channels for these products, but mass merchandisers and drug stores are seeing opportunity in the category, experimenting by introducing more products into their stores. Online sites that specialize in these products offer not only a privacy advantage, but often serve as forums where consumers can discuss product advantages and preferences.
We are currently conducting market research on the U.S. sexual wellness market and have discovered some interesting trends in this space:
- About 25% of all sexual wellness products are sold online. Amazon.com is a large force in the category, with sexual wellness products generating an estimated $350 million in retail sales in 2014.
- Recently, private equity firm Brookstone Partners acquired Jimmyjane and Pipedreams through its holding company Diamond Products, giving Diamond a presence in both the mid- and premium-priced segments of the adult pleasure market. More acquisitions are anticipated.
- Adult retail chain Peekay is also in expansion mode. The company has assembled a management team focused on opening eight to 15 stores a year through 2019.
- Technology-centric pleasure devices from manufacturers such as OhMiBod and We-Vibe are gaining acceptance, particularly among millennials.
- Convenience stores and adult stores are seeing an uptick in sales of sexual performance supplements, despite FDA crackdowns on illegal ingredients in some products.
- Mass retailers such as Target, CVS, and Walgreens have had increases in sales of sexual wellness products, especially in outlets where there are self-check outs.