Everybody has probably heard of the famous phrase – “sex sells”. But, hardly anybody a few decades back could expect such enormous growth and popularity, and this level of mainstream acceptance and presence in popular culture was certainly not expected by many. For instance, what would Hamilton Beach, the man who created the first vibrator in 1902, say about the widespread use of his product, available in all shapes and sizes?! Aside from vibrators, this market, or the term “adult toys”, includes many more types of objects that are designed to enhance or provide sexual pleasure, like various fetish objects, lubricants and costumes.
The unprecedented growth in recent years has seen the market of sex paraphernalia become one the biggest businesses in the world. This is largely attributed to sexual revolutions a few decades ago and the internet revolution from the start of the millennium – online trading is the key ingredient for massive sale numbers since anonymity is still secretly desired by many people who would like to indulge in sexual fantasies. The boundaries of “sexually acceptable” have been altered significantly in recent years (intercourse is not only for procreation but also for pleasure, premarital sex is acceptable, abortion and birth control close to being allowed worldwide, homosexuality or interracial sex are not hanging offenses, etc.), but a major portion of customers still prefers discreet shipping that online sex toy stores provide.
Wide acceptance of sexual liberties is clearly seen when several numbers are taken into consideration:
– It is estimated that the total value of this industry is $15 billion, with growth rate of 30%!
– According to research conducted by IBISWorld there are over 2.000 companies registered in this market, with around 12.400 employees (and this excludes online stores!).
– Amazon currently has over 60.000 sex toy items available.
– Research shows that over 23% of adults globally have used adult toys during sex.
– Over 400 registered exhibitors and 30.000 visitors are present every year on the largest show in this industry – The Adult Entertainment Expo.
– Most experts predict that market will grow up to $52 billion by 2020.
– China is the biggest producer of sex toys, with over 1.000 manufacturers who produce more than 70 % of world’s toys.
Many more statistics and numbers could be listed here, but none of them is as important as the general feel of acceptance and freedom of experimenting that can be sensed all over the world. Social networks and global connectivity have contributed to quicker and easier sharing of experiences and information, which resulted in higher revenue for providers of equipment for adult entertainment. The target of those companies has slipped from men and their needs to women and couples, who are now the main customer base. Most products today are designed “by women for women” and with popular movies and book, like “Fifty Shades of Gray” for example, this will only increase. More than half of the women in US have used sex toys at least once in their lifetime, and this number is also expected to grow significantly.