While businesses across the board have cried poor since the economy nosedived last autumn, there appears to be one industry that has surged — erotic accessories.
A recent report by Information Resources Inc. found that first-quarter sales of personal lubricants increased 32 percent up to $41.2 million, and sales of sexual-enhancement devices jumped a startling 74 percent to $10.1 million for the period ending on April 19.
Products marketed by Church & Dwight (Trojan and Durex) and Johnson & Johnson (K-Y Yours & Mine lubes and K-Y Intense — the first mass-marketed female arousal gel) are now showcased in end-aisle displays at grocery, drug and department stores, including Wal-Mart.
Church & Dwight’s own research reveals that sales of sexual enhancement devices (including Trojan Vibrating Touch) are actually a billion dollar business in the U.S.
In seven states, where it’s illegal to sell certain erotic items — such as vibrators — online sales by direct sellers have soared. Walgreens’s Web site now offers a Sexual Wellness tab that includes romance-themed costumes, games, massage oils and the Emotional Bliss Fem-blossom vibrator.
“I have definitely seen sales increase since December — tripled, in fact,” says Karen Cavagnuolo, owner of the New Haven-based bedroombuzz.com and executive director of Passion Parties, a direct sales company based in Las Vegas that caters to a female clientele. “Team sales for last year was $100,000, and last month we hit that mark already!”
Cavagnuolo currently manages 78 women who host parties at private homes where erotic products and techniques are demonstrated and sold to guests eager to learn and spend cash on vibrators, dildos, edible creams, gels and other sundries.
Nationwide, the company hosts more than 128,000 parties a year, reaching more than 1.2 million women. Small towns and rural locations produce the highest sales, helping to earn Passion Parties $100 million dollars last year, alone.
“The parties are free and account for 95 percent of product sales,” says Cavagnuolo. “Our best-selling product is Pure Satisfaction gel, which kicks up the intensity of orgasms.”
Screenshot from Passion Parties