Lovehoney is predicting that Valentine’s Day 2015 will be the biggest so far for retailers of adult products, with an estimated £50m expected to be spent – and the cinema release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie on February 13th will be responsible for a significant amount of this.
The firm says its turnover doubled following the release of the Fifty Shades books in 2012 and it expects the launch of the film to have an even more dramatic effect, particularly as ‘FSoG Fever 2015’ will not be restricted to one gender this time.
Lovehoney co-owner Richard Longhurst explained: “We are seeing similar surges in spending to three years ago. The whole market for erotic goods changed virtually overnight when Fifty Shades took off and our turnover doubled in the space of year. Suddenly women were reading erotic fiction on the beach and on trains and no one was batting an eyelid. The early signs suggest the film could spark an even bigger surge in sales.”
Longhurst continued: “Around 80% of the books were read by women but the audience for the film is expected to be split more evenly amongst the sexes. Half of Lovehoney’s customers are men – and millions of men are going to be introduced to the Fifty Shades brand for the first time by the movie. They will go to see the movie with their partner and we expect a lot of couples will be inspired to experiment with sex toys after watching it together. You also have to remember that a lot of people never read books and will also be introduced to Fifty Shades for the first time through the movie.”
Harmony, which has three adult stores in London, worked closely with Lovehoney’s Official Fifty Shades of Grey product team to recreate a bold Red Room-inspired window display in its flagship Oxford Street store. The window includes handcuffs and whips, from the Official Fifty Shades of Grey Pleasure Collection, in full display on one of London’s busiest shopping streets.
Harmony spokesperson Rose Crompton said the retailer was seeing similar sales surges to Lovehoney as excitement about the film grows: “It has been a fantastic start to 2015 and we are expecting our biggest Valentine’s Day ever, thanks to the return of Fifty Shades fever,” she said. “Our Red Room window display is already catching the attention of passers-by and fuelling their curiosity when it comes to trying bondage products this Valentine’s Day.”
Jim Primrose, Lovehoney’s general sales manager, said that the boom in the UK is being mirrored abroad. He said: “Fifty Shades is the biggest brand in the world. It has been great teaming up with Harmony who have really got behind the brand. The official merchandise is creating a buzz in all corners of the globe from Chile right to across the Americas to India where we have just signed an exciting new distribution deal with Digital E-Life.”
The most recent additions to the Fifty Shades of Grey range are the ten ‘luxury’ items which make up the limited edition Red Room Collection. This will be officially launched by author EL James on Tuesday February 3rd at erotic boutique Coco de Mer in London’s Covent Garden.