In a recent interview, Ray Hayes, the Commercial Director of Lovehoney, said that 2016 would be ‘the year of male sex toys’. EAN discussed this statement with Miguel Capilla, the CCO of Fleshlight International SL. As it turns out, Fleshlight not only supports Ray Hayes’ optimistic predictions, but even has the statistics to underpin that this is indeed the time of the male toys.
Your colleagues at Lovehoney said that 2016 will be the ”year of the male sex toys“. Does Fleshlight share this positive assessment?
Miguel Capilla: Of course we see it. The best evidence is the sales records that we have been beating continuously in the last months. 2015 was an awesome year for Fleshlight International SL, as we were consolidated as worldwide leader in male masturbators one more year. Our overall sales have climbed by 20% in comparison to 2014 and by 45% compared to 2013. In January 2016, we broke our sales record again… Since 2010, when the European headquarters was established in Spain, Fleshlight has been continually expanding. Production, distribution and orders through our website have also increased. Our company has experienced explosive growth in recent years due to a very good level of acceptance within the market of our male masturbators, because of its high quality material and the realistic sensation they provide to men.
Which factors show that the market for male toys is indeed expanding?
Throughout the years, vibrators and dildos have become so normalised for women that they openly talk about it in public. Perhaps being due to the overt sexualisation of women and their sexual identities. Men are realising little by little that there’s nothing shameful about enjoying a good masturbation with a sex toy. With each and every day passing, it becomes more and more socially acceptable and mainstream. Besides this, I would like to emphasise that studies have shown that masturbation and orgasm have lots of benefits, as regulating a man’s emotions and can also help maintain a healthy relationship with his partner. Fantasies can be relieved, tensions can be eased and the urge to cheat can be squashed, etc. Masturbation shouldn’t be restricted to the power of the hand if the person wants more!
Fleshlight is an international enterprise. Is the bespoken development a global phenomenon or just something we see in the western world?
Although the western countries are our main target, little by little we’re witnessing new opening markets, like Russia, Turkey, Japan, etc. We opened new warehouses in Canada and Australia (besides the factories in Texas & Spain) in 2014 to supply the high demand of our products. For instance, we supply most of Asiatic countries from our Australian headquarter. Anyhow, we still see many opportunities to grow our business in Europe. We have to open up new markets in almost the whole European territory. We are starting to achieve the intended results in Germany or Netherlands, although there’s a lot of work to do still in countries that we have realised some growth like Spain, France, Italy or UK but still need to increase in some others like East European ones. Moreover, Latin markets have been targeted by our company either. It is our goal to expand our brand worldwide.
What are the reasons for this positive development? What are the driving forces behind it?
Firstly, due to the openness and society evolution in the recent years. We no longer (as a whole) believe that taking care of yourself is either an offense or unhealthy – and we’ve certainly long determined that there isn’t anything psychologically strange about fulfilling your own urges. Secondly, the excellent quality of the products like Fleshlight, helps a lot the male masturbators development.
Why did we have to wait so long for this trend, even though it is quite obvious that men are willing to pay for sexual pleasure?
While a woman could happily mention she used a vibrator to her friends, a man who mentioned that he used a sex toy to his mates was more likely to be ridiculed rather than asked for a product recommendation. Perhaps if women who weren’t keen on their partners using them understood that they can make men better lovers they would be less likely to be upset; a product such at the Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit can help men increase their staying power.
Despite the ongoing stigma, male sex toy sales have risen by 1,000 per cent in the past 10 years.
Can Fleshlight profit from this trend or does it create a lot of competition and make business harder for Fleshlight?
We’re aware of the fierce competition in our sector and also that counterfeits are spreading worldwide unfortunately. To keep our position as the number one selling male sex toy in the world over them, we provide high quality patented products, know-how, extensive customer service and a good distribution network. I think that we can take advantage of this trend as our company is well established in the market and clients and customers trust on our brand.
How does Fleshlight benefit from its position as a pioneer and market leader in this changing environment?
We’re very proud to say that Fleshlight has become a generic term for male toys and this is our best letter of introduction. This was achieved thanks to the hard work of the Fleshlight team during the last 20 years. High quality controls, an awesome marketing policy and our tireless fight against fakes in recent times enables us to establish ourselves as benchmark in the male sex toys sector.
What is Fleshlight’s strategy to maintain, or even expand on its position in these times of change?
All products included in the Fleshlight range must fully comply with our high quality standards. We have an Innovation and Development department located in New Mexico, which is always innovating and developing new products. They also design and test all new creations and do feasibility reports prior to every product launch. The market is constantly changing and that is why Fleshlight is always expanding its range of products. It is also very important for us listening to our customers’ desires and recommendations, in order to offer them the best possible product to respond to their needs and expectations.
What expectations does the new male clientele have as new groups open up to ‘men’s toys’?
A successful “sex toy for man” has to be adapted to the new market’s desires, and to the new technological world. This has to be as realistic as possible as well, and a Fleshlight complies with all these requirements. Fleshlight sleeves are made of our SuperSkin patented material, which provide the most realistic sexual penetration simulators on the market. For a man who wants something approximating sex, a Fleshlight is the best choice.
To what extent are men’s toys suited for couples, and should they be advertised accordingly?
Although Fleshlight was created as a male masturbator, nowadays it is also used by couples, which is great news! Fleshlight products are perfect for sex play with your partner. Women have been an untapped market segment for us until now, but to break the ice, it might be handy if women started keeping some male sex toys in the arsenal—you know, in case a particularly adventurous mood strikes. Or, if guys aren’t afraid to suggest a little something different, it could be a good idea for dudes to keep some toys handy as well. Sex toys aren’t just for solo sessions. Men are growing more accustomed to the idea of introducing sex toys into a relationship. For example, one of our recent launching, the QuickShot, is a product that can be used for both personal and couple play. Maybe for that reason the QuickShot has become one of our top selling products in just a couple of months…
What advice have you for the trade, so that it can benefit from the aforementioned development?
It is very important listening to customers’ desires and recommendations, in order to offer the best possible product to respond to their needs and expectations. As a leading manufacturer, we also pay special attention to our partner’s feedbacks and advices, which let us to be in permanent contact with the consumer’s needs. Thanks to our good relationship with our partners, they also take care of our brand. Furthermore, we offer efficient and extensive customer service which is always ready to offer quick solutions and help our partners manage their Fleshlight business.
How will the product category ‘toys for men’ develop in the future? What role will technological developments play?
Technology is everywhere, so we might as well use it as a tool to keep our relationships strong. High-tech is set to transform our sex lives, from virtual-reality porn to Bluetooth-controlled toys. For example, our partner Kiiroo, has long distance masturbators for both sexes, including a social media platform for people to ‘connect’. From Fleshlight, we must not only adapt to new trends and technologies, but also anticipate them. Within the Fleshlight range, you can also find some interactive products such as the V Stroker (virtual sex adapter), or the Launchpad and Phonestrap, which are perfect for point of view content while you are using your Fleshlight.