Talking about China’s sex toy industry

Approaching the Chinese New Year, sex toy distributors around the world are contacting their Chinese suppliers to discuss stocking up. Chinese people enjoy the festive atmosphere during the Chinese New Year, which is their most important holiday, and their stopping of all kinds of production activities will directly lead to a supply crunch in the global toy market, as 70% of the world’s sex toys come from Chinese manufacturers, and today we are going to talk about the sex toy industry in the world’s largest producer of sex toys.


The current situation of China’s adult products industry

In China’s local consumer goods industry, adult products are a slightly embarrassing presence. Whether it’s the number of years the industry has been in development or the track it’s on, adult products are not “new”. Although it is closely related to adult life, it still belongs to a gray niche in the eyes of many people.

Data show that today China’s domestic erotic products market penetration rate of 38.5%, in Japan this data is 74.1%, since 2016, China’s erotic products market size has been growing steadily, and it is expected that in 2025 the market size will exceed 200 billion yuan

Last July, OSUGA, a famous Chinese sex toy brand, opened its first offline store in a shopping mall, becoming the first sex toy brand to enter a shopping mall. From the opening of China’s first sex toy store in Beijing in 1993 to its current presence in shopping malls, this business has been developing in China for three decades, but still hasn’t achieved a brand giant like LELO. This is a typical industry with a large market and small companies, where the market demand is large enough, but there’s no way to publicize it, and while channels are important, it’s also important to abide by the law. China’s national conditions and laws determine its gray niche attributes.


The rapid development of e-commerce also promotes the development of the sex toy industry

Comprehensive e-commerce platform is the main channel for consumers to buy products. It can be seen that comprehensive e-commerce platforms account for nearly 70%, while only 30% of consumers buy adult products from offline channels. Its private attribute determines the limited space for offline consumption and more reliance on online sales. And the last 10 years have been the golden 10 years of e-commerce development in China.

  • E-commerce platforms provide a relatively private shopping environment, making it easier for consumers to purchase intimate products such as sex toys. Consumers can shop from the comfort of their own homes, avoiding the feeling of embarrassment that may be associated with shopping in a physical storefront.
  • There are a large number of sex toy brands and products available on e-commerce platforms for consumers to choose from. Consumers can easily compare the features, quality and price of different products to find the right one for their needs. Click here to learn more about sex toys.
  • Some e-commerce platforms provide online education and guides on sexual health and sex toy use. The availability of such information helps consumers to better understand the products and how to use sex toys safely and correctly.
  • E-commerce platforms in China are often combined with social media. Through online communities, user reviews and sharing, consumers can access the experiences and advice of others, thus gaining more trust and understanding of sex toys.
  • E-commerce platforms usually offer promotions and discounts to entice consumers to make purchases. These promotions help increase the sales of sex toys and make them more affordable.
  • E-commerce platforms have a good system of logistics and distribution that allows products such as sex toys to reach consumers quickly and safely. This also lowers the threshold for shopping.

Overall, the rapid development of e-commerce in China has provided a broader market and a convenient shopping environment for its sex toy industry, further promoting the development of the sex toy industry.


In China, please yourself, women become the key words

Male products have long been the mainstay of sex toys in China. The 2021 China Women’s Health White Paper released by the First Financial Business Data Center shows that the proportion of women’s consumption in the online erotic products consumer market is climbing day by day, and the growth rate is significantly higher than that of men’s, currently accounting for nearly 40%. Meanwhile, from the point of view of the use of objects, the market for female products seems to be more robust. 2022 sales of female products declined by only 3.5%, while male products declined by more than 18%.

Thanks to the liberation of women’s sexuality and the popularization of sex education, consumers are increasingly concerned about sexual health and the rise of self-consumption, of which OSUGA is an epitome. Nowadays, Chinese young people no longer talk about sex, and OSUGA has not only captured the hearts of consumers, but also gained recognition from capital with its cute shape of products. In 2021, it had received RMB 250 million in Series A financing.


Some problems about China’s sex toy industry

In terms of industrial structure and major players, most of China’s sex toy market consists of small local enterprises, and although there are a few well-known flat brands, there is still no head giant brand, not to mention a world-renowned flat brand like lelo. There is no advantage in terms of product value-added, and they are in the stage of production expansion.

In addition, socially and culturally, China’s culture determines their conservative attitude towards sex. Social and cultural pressures prevent consumers from expressing their sexual needs in a positive way, and also create certain obstacles to the dissemination of sexual culture and sex education in China.

Attributes of special, resulting in difficult to break through the limitations of marketing communications and channels, all of the above factors lead to the result, is that the sex toys profit margins are small, the innovation space is not much, the shyness of the demand, doomed to be very difficult to get a lot of feedback and suggestions from the user side, the product innovation and improvement of the idea will be hindered.