Have you ever been to a sex toy trade show? If you aren't in the industry, the answer is probably no. And that's too bad, because they have ALL THE TOYS! Kinkly was lucky enough to be able to attend the Adult Novelty Manufacturer's Expo, which was held in Los Angeles in January. And, thanks to that visit, we got to get up close and personal with all kinds of sex toy lines that haven't even been released yet. We saw toys that spun and toys that wiggled. We saw toys with suction and toys with thrust. We also got to chat with many of the top people in the industry. So, standing there in that wonderland of sex toys, we asked them: What can we expect to see in the coming year? Here's what they had to say.
Better, More and More Advanced Male Sex Toys
I see great technology [in male sex toys] for 2017. There are some really great innovations and things I've never seen before. It makes me want to have a penis!
-Sunny Rodgers, brand manager at Diamond Products, makers of JimmyJane and Pipedream toys, and Sir Richard's Condoms
More User-Friendly Technology
What is trending for us is user-friendliness. People want things that are easy to use. People want one button, and they want to be able to shut it off quickly. I call it that panic button ... you are doing your stuff and then you get walked in on by your kid, or your friend, or your room-mate ... the panic button makes it easy-peasy to shut it down quick.
The other thing is advanced technology, whether it is touch-sensor motors or swirling pleasure balls, people always want something new - they want to be able to try anything.
-Nichole Grossmann, CalExotics
More Products for Butt Play Newbies, More Accessible Luxury Toys
I think there are going to be two big trends in 2017 and they are connected. The first is beginner anal products. The second is accessible luxury products. We have for, example, our Tryst luxury massager, which has been doing very well. Our newest iVibe select vibes are coming out in the next few months. And a lot of new anal plugs for beginners, including our American Pop! - Launch! Anal Trainer Set, which is made of Platinum cured, health-grade silicone, and made in America.
-Erica Braverman, PR and Marketing Executive at Doc Johnson Enterprises
Savvy Consumers With More Brand Awareness
We’ve found that more and more consumers are turning to trusted, proven name brands for their pleasure products instead of cheap, unregulated Chinese knockoffs. Consumers are more educated about materials and safety than ever before, so it makes sense to choose compliant branded goods instead of lesser known, non-compliant Chinese substitutes.
-Nick Orlandino, Chairman and CEO of Pipedream Products
More Technological Innovation
2017 will be a really exciting year for LELO as we have some exciting new launches in Q2. We have historically always been known as a design and innovation company that really pushes the envelope in thinking about the end consumer. For example, to date we hold 11 patents, which just goes to show the innovation and technology required.
Since our inception a decade ago we've always referred to ourselves as selling pleasure products, not just sex toys. Society has really come to accept the industry.
-Zabrina Law, Trade Marketing Manager at LELO
We are seeing an increase in adult toys and intimate accessories designed by women, for women. Women entrepreneurs are seeing incredible potential in the industry, which was previously dominated by men. As a result of this, we will see branding and marketing designed for a female targeted audience. I believe this will continue the movement to destigmatize pleasure products in the mass market. We also expect that more pleasure products to show up on big-box retail shelves as a result of a focus toward sexual health and wellness.
-LeAnne Black, UVee by Clean Light Laboratories
More Entry-Level Products for Early Experimenters
We are always trying to figure out who we are serving with our products. We look at the consumer as a young woman who is interested but not quite sure. We wanted to develop something for her. It is about feeling sexy, but at the right price point. I like to think of it as H&M for the over-21 crowd. Many young women are used to that. They say, I'm going to spend $25-$30, I'll wear it a few times, but once I've tried it, and I'll move on to the next thing. That is the type of mentality. We have affordable lines of products and, while they are going to last for years, they aren't overthought.
Every year we are working on products that really are different. I think people are more open to the high end line as the early experimenters are now looking for the next thing.
-Julie Stewart, President at Sportsheets
Higher Quality Toys at Lower Prices
At Topco, we are seeing stores and their shoppers pay closer attention to quality and value and I suspect this will be an ongoing trend in 2017. We understand that not everyone can afford to take home a luxury-priced product, and Topco is dedicated to providing well-made products -- including masturbators, silicone vibrators, and intimate cosmetics -- at price levels that appeal to wider audiences and better serve consumers' needs.
-Autumn O'Bryan, COO at Topco
More Prostate Stimulation!
Where I see some of the market going, prostrate stimulation. Prostate stimulation is a new thing for Vibratex, our primary focus has been always on dual stim vibrators, but with an ever evolving world we live in, prostate stimulation is becoming more accepted, not only for the health benefits but the pleasure aspect. We look forward to the potential growth this has for the industry and look forward to adding a third prostate stimulator to our already successful Pandora and Black Pearl.
-Eddie Romero, Director of Operations at Vibratex
Different Product Lines for Different People
Where the industry is going is rechargeables and finding things that are truly unique. There are only so many ways you can make a rabbit vibrator. Rather, it's about finding something unique for the masses. That means not producing just for one group, whether it be the 80-year old lady who has arthritis or carpal tunnel or the man who has lost his wife and wants a toy because he doesn't want to replace her with somebody else physically, or the 18-year-old who comes in for her first toy.
-April Hoopes, Evolved Novelties
Rechargeable Sex Toys and Apps to Control Them
We see a lot consumer concern around battery issues. It's all about rechargeables now. Your toy needs to be ready when you are .... the last thing you want to worry about is batteries. The other area is technology and tying in apps. That totally changes couples toys.
-May Chan, Maia
More Sex Toys for Couples
We are a manufacturers of electro-stimulation toys. I think the trend for 2017 will be more about couple-orientated play. For example, with our units you can attach two accessories at the same time and then each of the toys can be set to different programs so that the couple can play together.
-Jessica Hofmann, Mystim
Sophisticated Technology and Teledildonics
This year, it's all about the app component. At We-Vibe, we've put a ton of resources into technology this year. For example, our "beat mode" syncs up your toy with music and can go with the vibration patterns in a club or restaurant. We also partnered up with with Kiiroo to create an app called "Feel Me." It is teledildonic technology that allows you to play with your partner from around the world. We see that kind of technology being a big factor this year.
-Kitty Kgondek, We-Vibe
Gender and Sexuality Will Become Less Binary
When it comes to trends to be foreseen for 2017, I definitely think gender and sexuality being less binary and accepted on a spectrum comes into play quite a bit. I definitely see that trend in the sex toy and sex education/blogging world as well. Adult novelty items will start to change as the public understanding of sex and sexuality starts to change as well. This is also starting to be seen in our products. For example, gay men have for some time been fairly open about wanting to use our Clone-A-Willy kit to make a copy of their penises, but recently we have more and more straight men expressing curiosity about this as well!
-Victoria Nelthropp, Marketing/PR Coordinator, Empire Labs Inc.
A Shift Toward More Advanced Sex Toy Materials
We are seeing a huge change in materials. People always ask if the big push to move to silicone toys is just a trend. We don't think so. It's here to stay. There are also nano-technologies out there - self-lubricating technologies as well. Imagine what is it going to be like when your vibrator lubricates for you?
-Charlette Lopez, Sales Specialist, Cloud 9
Consumers Are Getting More Educated - and Demanding Better Quality
The big trend this year is education. Customers want to know about the product and what they are putting inside their bodies. Five to 10 years ago everything was made with TPR and was bad quality. Then, a few vendors showed how bad these chemicals are for the body. Now, safety is very important to buyers and consumers alike ... you get what you pay for when it comes to genuine silicone, vibrators with haptic technology, and so on.
-Chris Kalev, General Manager, LA Pump
Interactive Sex Toys
I believe the future of the sector lies with integrated devices. That means sex toys that can be app-controlled, that can be controlled by other interactive toys, and where toys are combined with content, such as videos, virtual reality or games. Devices will react and respond to what is happening on the screen. This is no different from toys that interact with each other, for example, where the female uses her product and the male's product reacts. Technology changes everything in terms of how interactive toys can get.
-Adam Lewis, Hot Octopuss
Consumers Will Spurn "Smart" Sex Toys
I think that we are going to see a step away from smart-tech. There is a lot of interesting stuff out there, but I think that a lot of people are going buy it and try it and then remember that sex is about an intimate experience and that maybe using your phone during sex isn't always the best thing.
I think technology will work for porn, though. There is teledildonics, virtual reality ... that is going to blow up and be amazing and super cool. That being said, if you are looking for an intimate experience, sometimes less is more.
-Alexandra Fine, Co-Founder and CEO, Dame Products
Less Stigma Around Men's Sex Toys
We feel that part of the reason toys for men have been so stigmatized and are still taboo is that they have some sort of fantasy or perversion attached to them. If you look at women's toys, it might have started off with giant dongs, but the market has moved toward many more options that aren't so extreme.
What we try to do is not completely remove the fantasy, but remove the "perversion" side of it by removing the molding orifices and trying to teach men about what we call pleasure training. One of the biggest problems we see with men is early ejaculation. One of the reasons that guys suffer from this is the way they masturbate. They last two to five minutes and essentially train their bodies to just achieve orgasm. By coming back to education, and with a product that is more comfortable within a relationship, we expect to see reduced stigma around male sex toys by providing a product that is less intimidating that also helps last longer when with your partner.
-CT Schenk, CEO, Blewit
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