Will 2020 Be the Year of the Pleasure Product Gift Exchange?

Written by: Nichole Grossmann, Director of Marketing for CalExotics

Let’s face it – 2020 has been an incredibly interesting year for our industry, to say the least. With the COVID-19 pandemic came many logistical hurdles and challenges that we had not faced in the past. But it also came with huge buzz, as millions of consumers turned toward pleasure products to help mitigate their paused sex lives and less than opportunistic dating circumstances. In other words, people have turned to our industry to help tide over dry spells and remind them that pleasure can still be a priority, even during the most challenging of times. 

This gives me a huge sense of pride. Everyone is holding on to extra stress and anxiety this year, but our industry has stepped up to the plate, providing people with a way to escape the madness, even if just temporarily. The blissful escape that pleasure products can bring is, quite frankly, something I hope all of my friends and loved ones are getting this year. That is why I plan to give a lot of pleasure products as gifts come the holiday season. 

I often wonder if others will be doing the same, particularly if they haven’t gifted pleasure products at all in the past. Based on the sales trends we’ve seen so far in 2020, coupled with some key statistics revealed in a survey conducted by CalExotics, I believe this year could be the year of the pleasure product gift exchange.  

Before I summarize the reasons why I feel this way, allow me to share some of the key insights from CalExotics’ survey on gifting sex toys. 

  • 88 percent of people say they would be open to receiving a sex toy as a gift from a romantic partner, with the vast majority saying they’d be “thrilled” or “intrigued” about it. 
  • Almost half of those surveyed said that they would be receptive to receiving a sex toy as a gift from a friend. In fact, nearly 30 percent said they would be “happy” about it, while another 20 percent said they would be “embarrassed but secretly excited.” 
  • Men are more likely to feel intrigued about receiving a sex toy from a partner. 
  • Single folks were more likely to have given a sex toy as a gift. 

The above stats show glowing interest in receiving sex toys, but were people actually giving them as gifts? Yes, but not as much as you’d think. Only one in three people had actually given a sex toy as a gift. But I tend to think that number is about to boost big-time this holiday season, and heres why: 

Reason #1: Long distance relationships rely on them.  Our team has fielded multiple interviews from mainstream media about this very subject. Long distance couples have been separated for quite some time now, and the intimacy playing field has shifted for these couples. Without the ability to physically connect in person, virtual sex and phone sex are on the rise, so gifting your significant other a pleasure product may be another way of saying, “I still want to bring you pleasure, even if we can’t be together in person right now.” 

Reason #2: Couples who live together need to break the monotony. Pleasure products have been ‘spicing things up’ for couples for as long as I can remember. In a time when couples are home with each other all-day-every-day, however, there’s a greater need for bringing new excitement into the bedroom. 

Reason #3: Singles deserve pleasure too. Quarantining can be challenging and incredibly lonely for those doing it alone. Having a pleasure product can help relieve stress and offer that much need boost of endorphins we could all use right now. If you have some single friends quarantining alone who have been complaining about their non-existent sex lives, a sex toy can help put a smile on their face. 

As an industry, it is our job to make the pleasure products gift exchange a reality this holiday season, and I am here to help with 4 easy tips for retailers: 

  1. Transform your store into a holiday wonderland of pleasure. For brick and mortar retailers, try decorating your store for the holidays. Use holiday décor in window displays, tabletops and even end caps. For online retailers, have holiday theme imagery on your site. Have dedicated pages for holiday theme gift ideas. All of this will help put shoppers in the holiday spirit. 
  2. Make your social media holiday theme. Consumers are spending more and more time on social media, so it’s important to showcase the holiday theme on all your social media channels. At CalExotics, during the month of December, Callie the naughty elf of the shelf pays us a visit. We post a new picture of our naughty elf getting into some crazy, pleasure-product-related mischief every day. This always gets a lot of attention, as it is a great mix of pleasure products, fun holiday traditions and a few laughs. 
  3. Make gifting easy. Offer holiday gift guides and stocking stuff ideas. Dedicate a section in-store or online for the top holiday gift ideas. This can include classic, best-selling items like the iconic Jack Rabbit from CalExotics, or new, innovative products like the revolutionary My Pod by CalExotics. Providing suggestions and ideas is a great way to have consumers thinking about pleasure products as a gift. Also, remind shoppers that it’s ok to buy one for themselves too. After all, it is the season of giving, so why not give a little something to yourself! 
  4. Add value for your customers. Offer gift wrap options in-store or allow online shoppers to add a special message to their gift purchases. Offering incentives like a gift with purchase is a great way to add value for your customers, making them feel special. Deals and sales are also great for the holidays. Just like mainstream retailers, you can offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals or holiday sales to encourage your customers to shop. 

Will 2020 be the year of the pleasure product gift exchange?  I suppose time will tell.  But one thing is for sure – together as an industry, we’ll make this a pleasurable season for many people – and that’s important now more than ever. Happy holidays to you and yours!