Considered Christmas for sex shop owners, this year’s Valentine’s Day should have more sex toys for couples and singles. Confined and without restaurants, Brazilians should follow the French trend, which had a high in sales on St. Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14th.
According to Abame (Brazilian Association of Erotic Market Companies), the number of businesses focused on the erotic market in 2020 tripled compared to 2019. The survey, carried out in February this year, showed that 76% of the 135 surveyed companies grew during the pandemic, with an average increase of 10% in sales compared to the previous period.
The report also points out that social isolation brought new customers to half of the respondents. Demand grew so much that 28.9% reported difficulty in finding products among suppliers, mainly imported ones.
Sales at Pantynova, an online store for erotic products, exceeded 20% on the first Valentine’s Day of the pandemic, and the percentage is expected to grow further this year, say businesswomen Izabela Starling and Heloisa Etelvin.
“In sales, Valentine’s Day is our Christmas, right after that comes Black Friday”, tell the businesswomen.
The idea of creating ecommerce, which started in 2018, came from frustrated experiences in finding products that met the couple’s needs. Now separated, but running the company together, they expanded the business with podcasts with content focused on sex education and erotic stories.
“We never wanted to position ourselves just as a store. The idea came from the discontent of a market as a whole, which is very focused on the male universe”, says Izabela.
The production of strapons (panties with a vibrator attached) is made in Brazil, at the same factory that is responsible for Calvin Klein underwear. The vibrators are imported from China, and are customized in a factory in the interior of São Paulo.
“We choose the products that are more successful abroad, and we do the part of giving the visual identity”, they affirm.
Even the singer Anitta helped drive sales of sex toys, says the trio of businesswomen Clariana Leal, Larissa Ely and Marcela Bull, from the Climaxxx store. Last year, after the singer showed her vast collection of vibrators, the store registered a high demand for the products. The research target had a specific object: the sucker.
Contrary to the name, the high-tech device doesn’t suck. With a rounded cavity, it works with a pulse of air, stimulating the clitoris and providing more powerful orgasms. The item became one of the darlings of sales during the pandemic.
“Five years ago I noticed a large market share, feminism was taking a more universal form and female pleasure gained more body,” says Larissa. The businesswoman says that she always liked going to sex shops, but it was a bizarre experience, focused on toys outside the female reality. “Our idea is to have a company that focuses on women’s pleasure, which serves women”.
The venture, which started in 2016, curates toys and other products such as exciting oils and lubricants. The virtual store also has a space to discuss sexual education and how to enhance pleasure.
The numbers for those who produce also jumped. Fun Factory, a German brand of vibrators, had 40% growth in sales last year, and this year’s revenue from January to May is double the same period in 2020.
In May, it saw sales increase 170%, with the highlight being the sale of the “Us” cock ring, which stimulates both the penis and the clitoris. “We are preaching ‘slow sex’: a more exploratory sex to enjoy and enjoy the moment in partnership, no longer that quickie thing”, says Andréia Paro, director of Himerus, representative of Fun Factory in Brazil.
According to specialists, we are living a new moment in terms of pleasure. “We are going to enjoy more and more and have less sex,” says Michel Alcoforado, anthropologist and founding partner of Grupo Consumoteca. “We are experiencing a break from the view that masturbation is worse sex. In fact, there are two different perspectives on pleasure”, he says.
This movement is mainly driven by millennials, the generation between 18 and 35 years old, who treat sex as well-being. Michel classifies it as an individualistic turning point. “In our parents’ generation, sex was the conquest of freedom, a form of exploitation of one’s own body, which was prohibited”, says the anthropologist. “Today we see a worldwide drop in sex among younger people, and sex toys bring pleasure without having the other.”
According to a survey by the group, 4% of consumers bought their first sex toys in the pandemic, while another 4% already bought and increased the frequency of purchase after the pandemic.
Sex shops have also undergone a reinterpretation over the last two decades, no longer concentrating on poor quality products and focused on male pleasure, with costumes and toys that are not suited to the female reality.
“The sex shop was a collection of phalluses of all sizes, and the new stimulators don’t need to have this phallic characteristic, it just needs to fulfill its function, which is to give pleasure”, says the anthropologist.
“The pandemic brought a third wave of change in the view of the erotic product with a focus on health and well-being”, says Paula Aguiar, writer and specialist in the erotic market. For the specialist, since 2010 the market began to take a closer look at the female orgasm.
Another point that draws the specialist’s attention is the formation of the erotic market. According to the Abame survey, of the 135 companies interviewed, 76% were headed by women. “They see the market as a mission, many are sexologists and bring the necessary welcome to make the client very comfortable”, she says.
“People had to turn to themselves, worry more about health and life, and consequently sexuality came into the agenda”, he says. “And Valentine’s Day is a time focused on your intimacy, whether with your partner or alone.”