Is there a market for sex toys?

06 Jul,2022

 

 

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

Sanjeev KotnalaTTK Healthcare launched D2C sexual pleasure fulfilment sex toys e-superstore called Love Depot. The launch campaign #ThePleasureIsAllYours crafted by ‘The Glitch’ was released across select digital platforms. To watch the film, click here. It only plays on YouTube, as it is an age-restricted video (based on Community Guidelines).

 

The film showcases the range of sex toys you can buy at Love Depot. It shows a spectrum of pleasure tactics amplified with sex toys. In the process, it highlights individual choices when it comes to sexual pleasure.

 

Sexual Wellness Market

As per earlier  estimates the global sexual wellness market was valued at $74 billion in 2019 and expected to be $108 billion in 2027  and expected to grow at CAGR 4.62% between 2021 to 2027. Sexual wellness includes products like Intimate Hygiene, female & make grooming, sexual wellness, delay sprays, sex enhancer supplements, sex toys  and pleasure products. Another report by Allied market Research places  the sexual wellness market to be $2.09 billion by 2030 this report pegged 2020 market in India at $1.15 billion.

 

Lack of Sex Education

One does not need research in the social and culturally constrained Indian environment where there is a lack of sex education. Even though it is the land of Kamasutra, it is the land of heightened, oppressed and unexpressed sexual fantasies. Forget access to sex toys. Anything other than typical traditional accepted positions and demands – everything else is abnormal, unaccepted and seen as unnatural.

There is a massive chasm in the expectation and experience of sexual fulfilment. Understanding sex as a duty, a responsibility, and a way of giving birth to the next generation overpowers the need for sexual pleasure.

 

Sexual Pleasure slowly getting its Due

The current generation is slowly breaking these clutches. They are willing to express their individuality and choice and demand a new height of sexual pleasure, even if it includes using sex toys individually or with a partner.

The TTK survey points out that over 81% of the women are dissatisfied with their sexual life, and 71 never experienced climax. Understandingly the range of products in the Vulva owner section is more. And no doubt there is an equal percentage on the male side that has other problems.

In the Indian context, there is limited awareness of sex toys, which are considered more for personal use. The film does not miss the opportunity to break the misconception by pointing out that sex toys can even help couples reach a new level of pleasure. A visit to the site has me educated on the range and kind of toys that are available.

I admire the head of the marketing  Vishal Vyas, TTK Healthcare, categorically introducing a few things while making the statement. He says, “Love Depot is built on one of the cornerstones of sexual wellness that we often let fall between the cracks: pleasure. … everyone deserves to seek and conquer the peaks of sexual fulfilment. It is structured to provide the shopper, regardless of gender identity or sexual preferences – an empowering experience, offering both choice and control. And it’s driven by a single-minded purpose – to close the pleasure deficit in the market”. One single statement that tells the story of the market.

 

LoveDepot.com

The site Lovedepot.com is well-designed. And as expected opens only after over 18 self-declaration. The copy like ‘we ship pleasure you manufacture it’, ‘Invite a little pleasure’, ‘Its official pleasure has an address’ and ‘Invite a little pleasure’ is to the mark.

Interestingly and rightly, a small quiz helps you choose the right product. I like the way the site asks you a simple question. The choice is, Are you a penis owner or a Vulva owner, instead of the usual Male or Female. And the section Penis love- starts with a cliché- why should girls have all the fun?

But choosing a sex toy until you have researched or know what you want is confusing. For example, the male section or the penis owners have multiple filters. So decide if you want a toy that is powered, non-powered or rechargeable. ABS plastic or silicon. Brands like Bathmatefifty shades of greySatisfier and Tenga and  Skore. And if you were looking for a masturbator or a penis pump.

Each product has sections like product details, features, how to use, faqs and user review. I feel it is underplayed and needs more information. Some seem more complicated, and as the how-to-use does not come with graphic visual or illustrative details, it can hold people back.

The user review seems a suspect, with the reviews’ names and dates looking like more of a copywriter job. And some of the text with Pheromone Activating Spray could be exaggerated and misleading product performance in case it was a press ad. Check it out; it is written well.

 

Delivery of Sex Toys

Love Depot promises attractively packaged products discretely delivered. But is silent on Pick-up space or time slots when the person can get them without worrying about others knowing. A long time back, some company (I don’t recall the name) tried marketing a limited range of sex toys but did not pick them up due to delivery issues. Maybe Love Depot has done the homework. Without a clear explanation of the process, the customer hesitancy will hold much back.
One has seen some of the sexual wellness products prominently displayed in large medical stores, but that is just awareness build-up.  In a country where buying of sanitary napkins and condoms is still seen as a task, sexual wellness products have a long way to go. The digital platform for discovery- education and purchase will help the category. The  dependence on the street shops for these products will drop with the ease of purchase on e-commerce.

 

Pricing is no Issue

Price is something that will not work as a deterrent in the market. As such, Love Depot has many international brands and its own products offered across a wide range of price points. The brand has always been at the forefront of the male contraceptive brand like Skore– keeping the pleasure component high.

 

Educating Prosumers and Consumers on Sex Toys

There has to be a lot more to address the choice-control and awareness of the toys and their proper usage. The act of getting Dr Tanaya Narendra (@dr_cuterus) on social media to co-create educational content for the consumer is the right step. And the thought that the doctor amplifies is absolutely right, “We must leave shame behind and empower people with what they necessarily have to know about their sexual needs. I am quite excited to be partnering with Love Depot, which will not merely be a product marketplace but will also be a platform that makes all visitors aware of their entitlement to pleasure, and at the same time, educates them on the role of innovative and contemporary pleasure-providing products”.

However, the prefix doctor educating the consumer makes it a problem. The brand may do itself and its customers good by extending the base and including an easy-to-relate character more like a confidant without a doctor prefix. Unfortunately, the best educator ambassador in this area- Sunny Leone, is with the competition- Manforce.

The Indian masses are not fully aware of sec toy usage. They are a curious lot, and the curiosity could lead to some mishaps.

 

Net-net

TTK takes another step to be ahead in the business of sexual pleasure. They need a lot more to do to educate the consumer. Initially ensuring discreet deliveries and building on acceptance of the products. Maybe some more product placements in OTT could help. Possibly restricted videos could be of help. But much more must be done to make it gain wider acceptance and drop the stigma of talking about or using it.

It might help to focus more on individual usage. As couple usage, in a way, hints at some lack of capabilities on the partner’s part to satisfy. Women feel inadequate to suggest, and the man is not inclined to offer anyway. So, it is. Catch-22 situation.

 

 

 

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