Hewson unveils Global Sex Toy Index

Posted: April 30, 2012

Market analysts Hewson Group has unveiled its latest project, called the Global Sex Toy Index, which attempts to identify sex toy sales around the world and establish a league table based on the unit sales per head of population (women aged 18-70). Hewson says the Index, which has been constructed on data acquired from its own Women Sex and Shopping research and from a variety of industry sources, demonstrates a massive change in sexual behaviours over a single generation and in many parts of the world.

According to Hewson, an estimated 4.2m sex toys were sold in the UK during 2011 and 40% of the female population aged 18-70 are sex toy users. They buy an estimated 0.5 products per year but Hewson predicts this could quadruple by 2020.

Hewson puts The Nordics at number one in the Global Sex Toy Index, with the estimated number of units sold per head (women aged 18 – 70) at 0.32 and the percentage of female population users (again, aged 18 – 70) as 50%. Total units sold in 2011 in this territory were estimated to be 2.7m.

At number two is Benelux, with respective figures of 0.23, 40% and 2m while the UK is placed third with figures of 0.22, 40% and 4.2m.

Although the United States is placed 10th on Hewson’s Index, in terms of unit sales by volume it was a clear leader with an estimated 14m products sold during 2011. A distant runner-up is Germany with 5m, followed by Japan with 4.5m and the UK with 4.2m. Estimated unit sales in other territories include Canada and France (both 2.5m), Spain, Russia, Taiwan and Central Europe (all 1.5m) and Australia (1.2m). The territory with the lowest estimated 2011 unit sales was The Baltics (200,000) followed by Israel (400,000). China is not included in the Index, even though several million toys are sold annually, because sales per head count are extremely low.

Hewson estimates that around 60m sex toys were sold around the world in 2011 at an estimated retail value of $2bn, and that premium brands such as Lelo, Fun Factory and Je Joue account for 5% of the market by value.

Hewson attributes the overall low unit sales per head figure to the ‘dysfunctional’ retail infrastructure and adds that the sector, almost uniquely, has no aspirational brands, no validation and no marketing. The Index adds that retail outlets are improving, and more women retailers are entering the market as entrepreneurs, but the generally low quality of both High Street and online outlets directly inhibits the sale of premium goods.

The Index concludes that sex toys have achieved an extraordinary level of adaption from virtually a standing start in the 1990s. However, $2bn represents merely an early maturity and maybe only around 10-15% of the potential market.

For more details about the Sex Toy Index contact Hewson Group on 01603 866234 or email wss@hewson.co.uk

Leave a Reply