Friday, June 05, 2009

Sales of sexual accessories up during down times

Sales of off-the-shelf “sexual accessories” are selling extremely well, even during the recession, reports Advertising Age’s Jack Neff. Personal lubricant sales increased 32% in Q1-09, led by Johnson & Johnson’s K-Y “Yours and Mine” line, and K-Y “Intense,” the “first major mass-market female-arousal gel” (available at Wal-Mart).

In addition, sales are up 74% year-over-year for “sexual-enhancement devices”—products such as Trojan’s Vibrating Touch (that fits on one’s fingertip).

It seems that no one can explain with complete certainty the increase in sales during slow economic times. Some claim people are staying home and having more sex; reconnecting with each other. Could be. But I think Neff has it right when he says that until recently no one has ever applied “consumer packaged-goods” research and marketing to these types of products. “…The reality is that some of this was always a pretty big business, just not one conducted in grocery, drug or mass-merchandise stores…”

Johnson & Johnson and Church & Dwight have been legitimizing sexual accessories and lubricants and taking them mainstream. There is a market out there that has been neglected. According to Jim Daniels, VP-marketing for Trojan, “These are areas where there are unmet consumer needs…the industry really hadn’t paid that much attention to [this area] until recent years.” Estimates are that sexual devices alone is a $1 billion market.

Jack Neff, (2009), "Is Recession Sex Even Better Than Makeup Sex?", Advertising Age, 25 May, p. 2.

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