Once relegated to the seedy area of town and preferably entered through a discrete back door, adult stores (if you know them, then the brick and mortar equivalent of the online Australian adult toy store, SexToys247.net.au) are now popping up all over the main shopping strip. Boosted by more accepting social attitudes towards sex and sex paraphernalia, sex shops are no longer a taboo destination. Enjoying the benefits of greater sexual acceptance, increased media exposure, and the prevalence of sex toys at major retailers like Wal-Mart, the adult store industry is expected to continue to grow at a modest rate of 0.7% annually. Having entered a mature stage in its growth the adult store industry will still have to face down stiff competition from online retailers where the majority of sex paraphernalia is sold.
The historic relegation of adult stores to remote areas was mainly due to a generally low acceptance of premarital sex and any sort of sexual relation deemed to deviate from the “norm” by the community and that’s a tradition that has slowly started to ebb away as society’s views on sexuality change with the times. Recent studies from Australia, the UK, and the US have all demonstrated similar findings; a significant increase in acceptance of not only premarital sex but also other sexual practices and types of relationships compared to those of thirty years ago. The possible correlation between changing societal attitudes towards sex and the currently burgeoning adult store industry is a provocative notion; however the effect on the industry’s growth has been gradual over the course of the past three decades.
To help us in working out what was going on in the modern age of the adult shop we spoke to one of the managers, at SexToys247.net.au, Simon. His opinion, “People are becoming less religious, and this in turn is giving rise to a more enlightened, and wise consumer base. People only open shops when there is a market, so clearly with more adult shops there must be more people to customers them even existing.” An interesting theory!
“A more immediate effect on the adult store industry was recently seen when the Fifty Shades of Grey novels (2011) and subsequent movie (2015) were released to high fanfare. As an overnight sensation it took both the literary and adult sex store scene by storm, prompting massive sales of sex toys that left many stores unable to meet demand. And while some retailers anticipated the boost in sales from the almost X-rated movie and books, many were genuinely surprised to see the immediate effect that it had on their sales. Not only have bondage sales been up significantly, some by as much as 30%, but other products like vibrators and dildos have seen similar rises. And when so many customers are eager to get their hands on the latest adult products they expect to be able to walk into a store to buy them with relative ease; making easily accessible sex shops far more acceptable in the eyes of consumers.”, said Simon.
It’s not only the Fifty Shades series that’s prompted a piqued interest in sex toys; the preponderance of sex-related issues in mainstream media like film, television, and social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have made the concept almost commonplace. In fact sex toys have become so routine that they are now routinely sold at popular family oriented stores like Wal-Mart and CVS in the States. The sales at these big box stores are minimal and provide little competition for adult stores but still have the effect of creating a sense of security regarding their sale, making it more tolerable for the consumer to see those or similar items for sale in an adult store.
Although the demand for sex toys is growing at a steady rate the majority of that growth is occurring online where consumers can enjoy a plethora of benefits when purchasing adult products and this has seen some smaller, independently owned adult stores to close down. Online purchases allow for a wider purchase selection than a single store, generally lower prices, an expanse of customer reviews, plus an anonymous presence that beats the back door of even the most remote adult store.
So, how do you feel about this? .. what are your thoughts on the rise of the adult shop? Good? Bad? .. Personally I think we should be embracing the new freedoms we have, hiding from progress seems like the wrong way to go!