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Does the adult market need to be tamed?

Traditional chains of supply are breaking apart, online shops offer products a few cents above purchase price, and the number of products is growing and growing. So it’s no wonder the adult market feels a bit like an Old West town at times, where the quick draw wins and the sheriff is nowhere to be found. But how should the industry respond to this situation, and what are the consequences for producers, suppliers, and trade members?

matze_pc_webMatthias Poehl

It is perfectly understandable that every trade members wants to get the best-possible margin out of their products. It’s equally understandable that the customers want to spend as little money as possible. The two sides usually meet somewhere in the middle, and if they don’t, well, then the consumer has to look for a comparable product or a different retailer. This is what’s generally called the market economy.

I’m not going to bore you with talk of invisible hands that regulate things or the like. But ultimately, the situation is thus: In the marketplace, various needs meet various offers. Of course, not every wish can be fulfilled, and not every product will find a buyer, but this system is still preferable to an alternative of fixed prices, regulated conditions, and a rigid product range. Because if the producers had more control over the prices, there’s no guarantee how they’d use that power tomorrow. The same goes for the channels of distribution. Who wants to be completely and utterly at the mercy of their suppliers?

Of course, there are also good reasons for producers to keep a close eye on the prices at which their products are sold in stores – especially if they are creating luxury products – and to step in immediately when they come upon cases of price dumping. However, actually taking such steps isn’t easy; it requires a lot of work, and ultimately, taking action against every black sheep in the trade would affect the price. Which in turn would have negative effects for most producers in the adult industry.

Apart from that, you want the company with the best strategy, standards, and ideas to be able to reap the benefits of their work. Because, when the consumer is shopping for an adult product, the price is not the single-most important criterion. User experience, service and advice as well as after-sales service, information about the product, etc. – all those things come into play. Companies that try to push their products solely on the basis of price and neglect all other elements tend to disappear from the market quickly.

So, where some see an untamed wild west scenario when they look at the adult market, others see possibilities. The market is in constant flux, and ideally, there will be more consumers finding more products. Wanting to eliminate imbalances through stronger regulations – notwithstanding what those regulations look like or how and by whom they are implemented – would be counterproductive in the long run, and more often than not, it wouldn’t even be necessary.