The economy is shrinking and many sectors are bracing for losses thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic. For some industries, however, the future is bright as growth has been consistent since the onset of stay-at-home orders. One of these, not surprisingly, is sex toys. Sex toy manufacturers and vendors in the US have registered a growth in sales since social distancing measures were implemented back in March.
According to one manufacturer quoted by The Financial Times, the sale of sex toys generally went up 87% after the onset of the lockdowns. For niche products like fetish toys and accessories, the growth has been even more impressive – 94%.
One of the leading online sex toy retailers in the US reported a 30% spike in sales over the course of a few weeks at the beginning of March, and the big players in the field are not the only ones seeing their businesses flourish.
A Mashable report suggests that a niche company called Emojibator saw 225% increase in overall sales during the first week of March. The company also registered a 345% increase in sales via their online store alone. Two of the most popular sex toys manufactured by the company sold out as people prepped for long stints alone, indoors, without much else to do.
Montreal-based online retailer Nox reported similarly impressive numbers. The company saw an increase in sales of 97% since the start of March . Dame Products, another fairly niche sex toy company, also reported a 30% increase in March sales.
Many of these companies saw a huge customer rush right before before the introduction of the lockdowns across the country. Brick and mortar boutique Babeland reported a massive rush to their store locations in the final few days before everyone receded into their homes. After the boutique closed down in line with governmental stay-at-home orders, they registered a notable spike in online sales.
Lelo, one of the most prominent high quality sex toy manufacturers, has reported a sales increase of 185% compared to the same time period last year. Womanizer and We-Vibe sales peaked at 263% of their numbers from last year, and according to some industry experts, adult toys have turned into the latest “apocalypse product” everybody is trying to stockpile.
Psychologists explain that several factors could be contributing to this growing demand.
For a start, many people are feeling lonely and stressed out because of the global chaos and uncertainty about the future. The lockdown, however, is forging new bonds between those who have been married or in relationships for some time. Existing couples are eager to explore new forms of intimacy. Sex toys provide exactly such opportunities.
Sex historians report that this phenomenon is not unique development. Throughout history, stressful moments and crises have been fueling sexual exploration. Sex tech did equally well during the 2008 global recession, when the sales of adult toys climbed in a manner similar to the phenomenon being experienced right now.
All sex toy market segments have seen an upward trend since the beginning of the year and the introduction of the lockdown measures. According to HotCherry “It isn’t just affordable sex toys that are in high demand. More high-tech gadgets for couples or for people in a long distance relationship have also been enjoying a steady growth in popularity during the months of March and April.”
The market is highly accepting of innovation. Today, when the potential for face-to-face human interaction is limited, technology seems to be coming to the rescue (Pun intended?). Interactive, internet-connected, and remote controlled sex toys seem to be made for a time of social distancing. Such toys can be controlled from any location via a smartphone app.
That means that even if your lover is under quarantine or even in another country, you can still enjoy some freaky and highly interactive fun regardless of your social distance.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, these internet-connected toys are all the buzz today (Pun definitely intended.) It has labelled the field ‘teledildonics,’ and the best explanation for its rapid expansion is the current coronavirus lockdowns. People want to stay connected and they want to experience some form of intimacy, regardless of that’s going on in the world. Whenever obstacles stand in the way of physical togetherness, people will seek out creative solutions and business will create brand new opportunities. Teledildonics companies have responded to that emerging market trend.
It is still too early to tell whether these changes will remain a part of our sexual landscape after the end of the COVID-19 crisis. Sociologists and sexologists, however, believe that the shift in “normal” is so profound that some of the practices adopted during social distancing will remain in our lives for much longer.
Sex toy technology is an extension of growingly digital communications between people. The Covid-19 quarantine has simply managed to highlight just how important touch is and how people will go to any length to achieve that intimacy.
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash