Sex industry

Sex Toy Industry Insiders Share What Sex Toys People Are Buying – and Why

Published: JULY 28, 2017 | Updated: FEBRUARY 15, 2022
Kinkly visits a huge adult retail trade show and gets the lowdown and what people are buying now.


A couple of weeks back, Kinkly had the pleasure of attending the Adult Novelty Manufacturer's Expo (ANME). In case you aren't aware, it's a huge trade show where adult industry manufacturers market their wares to distributors and retailers. We had a blast! And, in addition to getting to see the latest and greatest devices designed to tickle all your bits to orgasm, we also got to chat with some really cool people. And let's just be clear: The sex toy industry is full of cool and interesting people. (Selling devices designed to deliver orgasm-on-demand is about as close as you can get to peddling pure joy!) Plus, working in the adult industry provides some interesting insights about what people are into. We asked representatives from top retailers and manufacturers what sex toys were flying off the shelves these days - and why they thought they were so popular. Here's what they had to say.

Niche Fetish and BDSM Toys

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is said to have given BDSM the boost it needed to go mainstream. Since the book was released in 2011, many consumers have raced ahead of simple bondage and sensation play products to explore kinkier fetish offerings.

What we’re seeing today, as BDSM becomes more and more mainstream, is that consumers are gradually starting to explore more niche BDSM/fetish products as a direct result of the increased exposure. Right now, our two hottest BDSM subcategories are nipple accessories and cock & ball products from our Kink by Doc Johnson line.

-Erica Braverman, PR and Marketing Executive at Doc Johnson


Male Masturbation Sleeves

Male sex toys have long undersold toys designed for female anatomy. The tide is beginning to turn here, however; several manufacturers mentioned a surge in the sale of male sex toys.

For Topco, masturbators and consumables are selling best. Topco is the manufacturer of CyberSkin, the most realistic material on the market; in the masturbation category consumers are looking for the closest feeling to the real thing. Consumables (like lube) are always hot sellers for us as well.

-Autumn O'Bryan, CEO at Topco

Masturbation sleeves for men seem to be even more popular than they have been in the past. There are a lot more options available now and I think that is spurring a growing interest. We find that most people who are looking for sleeves want new, more elaborate toys like the Autoblow and the new Tenga Flip Zero - rather than just a cheap basic sleeve.

-Brenda Kerber, Owner at The Traveling Tickle Trunk


The new BlowYo by Lovehoney

Under-the-Radar Intimate Products

I’m seeing a lot of customers looking for innocuous intimate products. Pleasure products that look like standard massagers or something completely innocent are definitely showing an upward trend. I think that’s one of the reasons our new Jimmyjane LOVE PODS and EVOKE massagers were so well-received at ANME – they offer a massage experience coupled with soothing designs that appeal to first-timers and mainstream consumer sensibilities.

-Sunny Rodgers, Brand Manager at Jimmyjane


Jimmyjane's EVOKE massager


Wearable and App-Enabled Toys

Wearable and app-controlled toys are major trend that won't be going away any time soon. They're great fun - and getting easier to use and more intuitive by the day.

We continue to see strong sales and consumer interest in our wearable and app-enabled products such as We-Vibe Sync. I think we are just seeing the start of this category taking off as consumers become aware that they exist and they hear more about the benefits that they bring, like refined control and long distance play. When we launched our first app-enabled We-Vibe product in 2014 many people could not even conceive of what it could do. The market required some education and that took some time. As we add more We-Connect compatible products, like the new Ditto butt plug, we are seeing all sorts of new interest.

-Stephanie Keating, Marketing Manager at We-Vibe


We-Vibe's Pivot and Ditto


We like to put lots of exclamation points after lube (!!!) here at Kinkly because 1) it's simple and cheap and 2) it can make a huge difference. So, it makes sense that lubricants and other related items are top-selling categories for many manufacturers.

Personal lubricants are the most important category because these products are necessary to improve comfort and even improve performance of certain toys. We find that water-based lubricants are the most sought after additions to intimate exploration. The reasons behind this may change depending on the user, but the basics are: toy and condom compatibility, easy to clean, and non-staining. These seem to be the top reasons that a user would purchase a water-based lubricant.

-Ryan McCrobie, Product Education Specialist at System Jo

Sex bloggers, particularly reviewers, provide a great service to the online sex-toy-loving community. By providing insight into which sex toys rock - and which ones are rotten - they can help consumers connect with the best toys - and the best toys for their unique tastes and bodies.

Blush is having a huge uptick in both our Real Nude silicone dildos and our rumbly Hop rabbit vibes. I have to give credit to the honest blogger reviews. They help consumers sort through the plethora of products on the market and find the honest pros and cons of various designs.

-Ducky DooLittle, Marketing Manager at Blush Novelties

Electro-Sex Toys

Guys, we know you like electro-sex. In fact, our content around this topic is some of the most popular on the site! So, we're not surprised that electro toys are top sellers.

We have seen a growing interest in electro-stim toys. Neon wands and all the accessories for them are very big right now. I think more and more people are becoming interested in trying various forms of kink and becoming more and more adventurous with it.

-Brenda Kerber, Owner at The Traveling Tickle Trunk

Kinkly Staff

Sex is a bit like a secret society; everyone's doing it, it's just that no one talks about it. Kinkly's mission is to start that conversation, answer your questions and help you discover new and exciting things about sex, love and your body. We guarantee it'll be illuminating, enlightening, fun ... and a little kinky. And that's OK with us.No innuendos, no judgments and no apologies, just fearless, straight-up talk about sex.

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