The Next Wave: Pleasure Industry Execs Forecast 2024

The Next Wave: Pleasure Industry Execs Forecast 2024

The dawn of 2024 is upon us and the adult retail biz is buzzing with anticipation, looking forward to seeing what new, innovative pleasure products, lubricants and sensual cosmetic lines will hit the market in the coming year. As leading companies prepare for the challenges and opportunities that every new year brings, it’s time to take a look at what exciting new trends, innovations, designs and features we can expect to see launch in 2024. From upgrades to tried-and-true standbys, to cutting-edge technology and innovative materials, to strategies for spreading knowledge and connecting with customers, to the exploration of whole new realms of sexual wellness and pleasure, the industry is gearing up for another round of growth and transformation. So fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a journey into the future of pleasure products and the strategies that will shape the adult industry’s path in 2024 and beyond.

Safe, Sustainable, Inclusive

Over the past year, consumers have shown themselves to be increasingly concerned with product materials, sustainability and inclusivity.

Over the past year, consumers have shown themselves to be increasingly concerned with product materials, sustainability and inclusivity. That awareness is projected to continue in 2024.

“Consumers are looking for high-quality and body-safe ingredients,” says CalExotics Director of Marketing Nicole Grossmann. “They are more educated than ever before, and this is driving their purchasing decisions.”

Phoebe Grott of Nalpac agrees with this assessment.

“In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the materials used for manufacturing sex toys, with an increased emphasis on safety, comfort and sustainability,” she explains.

Unlike more mainstream industries, pleasure products are largely unregulated, though the implementation of ISO guidelines in late 2022 might be indicative that this lack of oversight is drawing to a close. European manufacturers have already found themselves facing new standards that, while not homogenous — each country has its own set of rules, and what might be compliant in one might not be compliant in another — are still a step up from the general lack of oversight that characterized the industry in the not-so-distant past.

Aside from a handful of holdouts, most manufacturers have already been using better-quality, more body-safe materials for several years, and will therefore likely already be compliant when regulations are implemented. Until then, however, it is up to manufacturers to determine their standards.

JO is well known for having over two dozen FDA-compliant lubricant formulations, and commands a robust customer base. Brand Ambassador Timothy Ferencz shares JO’s take on the issue.

“We’re seeing beauty trends like clean and natural ingredients with proven skin care benefits becoming nonnegotiable for end users,” Ferencz reports. “The challenge, however, is that the definition of ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ is not standardized across the board. So it is up to the brand to educate partners and customers about their formulas, ingredients and safety standards.”

Australian sensual cosmetic manufacturer Sensuous has likewise noted the trend toward quality ingredients and formulations.

“Products that emphasize sexual wellness, safety and health will remain a focus,” says owner and co-founder Keith Jones. “This includes materials that are body-safe and formulations that are hypoallergenic, as well as those that promote sexual health and well-being.”

Andrew Eustace, the sales manager at Trigg Labs, manufacturer of Wet personal lubricants, sums up the company’s position succinctly: “Less of an emerging innovation, and more of a recommitment from manufacturers. Clean, safe, quality products.”

Another important and related trend is increasing utilization of eco-friendly, sustainable materials and packaging.

Kate Kozlova, U.S. sales manager for Kiiroo, anticipates this trend continuing in the coming year, due to heightened consumer awareness of environmental concerns.

“Eco products and eco-friendly materials have been and will continue gaining popularity both in the sex toy and lube markets,” Kozlova says. “The demand for environmentally friendly materials and recyclable packaging will continue to grow along with the global need for sustainability, as the necessary alternative materials become more readily available.”

Another trend we can expect to see carry over from 2023 is inclusivity. Just as important as monitoring what goes into the products is expanding the audience for whom products are designed and to whom they are marketed.

We have seen manufacturers embracing a wider spectrum of users, with products such as those in Evolved Novelties’ Gender X line, which was launched in 2022 and continued to grow through 2023. Some, like Sensuous’ Jones, see this as valuable both for its own sake and as a practical business decision.

“The industry is moving toward greater inclusivity and diversity,” Jones notes. “Being a company that designs products for a wider range of body types, genders and orientations, we will gain a competitive edge.”

Cheri Curry, director of sales and marketing for Tantus, highlights this same point, noting that rising demand for nonrealistic colorways has made the company’s On-the-Go Silicone Packers, featuring rich mid-century jewel tones, into bestsellers.

“Community feedback emphasizes the affirming, fun and comfortable aspects of these products,” Curry says.

Sextech and AI: The Future Is Now

When considering what factors will influence the market in 2024, many manufacturers cite one ongoing trend that shows little sign of slowing down: the integration of advanced tech in the pleasure space — and specifically the use of smart technology and AI.

“From customizable vibration patterns to virtual reality integration, we are seeing more and more companies experiment with smart technology in order to offer their clients a more immersive experience,” says Karalyne Fosty, creative director for Nobü. “We predict that this trend will only continue to grow as the tech evolves.”

“Inspired by the success of wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more companies incorporating the use of biometric feedback into their pleasure products as the tech evolves,” Fosty offers. “We’re talking sex toys that have the potential to read and respond to users’ physiological cues in order to create a more dynamic and tailored experience through the use of embedded sensors. This type of sexual synergy would not only be game-changing in terms of sexual satisfaction, but could contribute to a deeper understanding of the user’s intimate responses through trackable data.”

Adding biofeedback and making a sex toy a smart device does seem like the next logical step. After all, we already have the ability to share control of a device with a partner on the other side of the world.  

Jeff Garlow of Satisfyer predicts that recent developments in AI and smart tech will change sex toy design dramatically.

“At Satisfyer, we’re exploring ways to leverage these technologies to create more personalized, intuitive products,” Garlow says. “These advancements will not only enhance user experience but also open up new possibilities in product functionality and interaction.”

Along with new product design and functionality, Satisfyer intends to update and upgrade its app with AI.

“This will make the app even more user-friendly and responsive to individual preferences,” Garlow notes. “Our commitment to integrating smart technology is aimed at continually improving the holistic pleasure experience.”

Even a lube man like Eustace can see the potential wealth of innovation AI could offer to pleasure products.

“It’s exciting to think that all the learning algorithms out there can be replicated in strokes, vibrators and a host of other toys,” Eustace enthuses. “Have a toy with 10 speed functions but only ever use two or three? Imagine a toy that not only recognizes that but also has a decent guess at how long before it needs to speed up or slow down. Less time pressing buttons, more time to focus on yourself or your partner? Yes, please. Sign me up!”

Distributors are uniquely positioned to gauge the overall impact of new technologies on the consumer market, and what end users value in a new product.

“While the average consumer may not be considering a VR-compatible toy, or voice-responsive stroker, there are a lot of ways that tech influences our products to improve the user experience,” says Nalpac’s Grott. “Looking to the future, we should anticipate mainstream health tech trends popping up in adult products. Some products are already engineered to be adjustable to an individual’s anatomy or remember what the user’s favorite setting is, so AI advancements can go a long way in making our products more seamless to use for pleasure, and growing the demographic for the market.”

Grott is certainly not alone in her belief that AI is the next frontier in sextech. Jones is expansive on the uses of artificial intelligence in all facets of the industry — from enhancing experiences by allowing consumers to customize their play, to helping provide and deliver educational content.

“AI can collect and analyze data about product usage and user preferences,” Jones says. “We can use this data to improve product design, offer recommendations, and identify trends. Users may also benefit from feedback on their experiences. The extent of AI and smart tech’s influence in the industry will depend on consumer adoption, regulatory developments and technological advancements in the years to come.”

Whether they realize it or not, consumers are already interacting with AI technology. Chatbots on ecommerce platforms utilize AI; predictive search results in web browsers are the product of AI. As Eustace points out, there are clear benefits.

“With the advent of AI search functionality, information about ingredients, companies and hazards is easier to access than ever before,” he says, but adds a caveat. “Ensuring that our products match our company messaging will be the difference between those that grow, and those that are overtaken.”

For Kozlova, this next step in adult’s technological journey is all but assured.

“We are making history in 2024,” she affirms. “Such a radical shift in the way consumers interact with everyday products will never again happen in our lifetime. Customization has already become increasingly popular with consumer products and there is no looking back. The benefits of AI will extend to retail experiences, as well as helping drive more sales, personalized interaction and customer brand loyalty through more intimate relationships with customers. AI will affect every area of our life and business, it is inevitable. We expect smart technology to become the highest-demand category for many years to come.”

As 2024 looms, the pleasure product industry stands poised on the brink of a brave new world. What would once have been deemed science fiction is our new reality, and manufacturers all seem to agree that AI and smart technology represent the wave of the future, with limitless possibilities.

New Year Reveals

The pleasure industry traditionally kicks off each new year with the introduction of new collections and additions to popular lines. January’s ANME has been the go-to event to showcase the latest new releases.

Pioneering pleasure brand CalExotics will unveil over 100 new items at the biannual event that it helped to establish 26 years ago. CalExotics’ newest products on display at the upcoming expo will span various categories and price points, including its popular lines such as California Dreaming and Jack Rabbit.

Trigg Labs is putting the final touches on its booth for ANME, as well as for Vibe Expo, which will make its debut Jan. 11-14 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.

“Our booth at ANME will be championing our newest campaign, and we are adding Vibe Expo to our calendar this year to get our clean, clear and sexy new product looks into as many hands as possible,” Eustace says.

Companies such as Nobü start the year by analyzing market trends, consumer behavior and competitor strategies. They take the opportunity to learn from their triumphs and challenges, turning setbacks into steppingstones for improvement. These planning sessions also involve a look at new products hitting shelves in the coming year.

“Over the last year, there’s been an overwhelming demand for fantasy products in the adult retail industry,” shares Nobü’s Fosty. “That’s why we’ve seen such immense success with the launch of our Beasties line. From giant tentacle dongs to other toe-curling creations, these toys are not only taking over retail shops, but are appearing more and more in adult content. However, most of them are non-vibrating in nature.”

That’s where Nobü’s Tiki comes in.

“Made with medical grade silicone, Tiki is a rechargeable, vibrating fantasy dong equipped with 10 unique vibration programs, making it the newest addition to join the Nobü Beasties collection in January,” Fosty says. “Waterproof, harness-compatible and made with an extra-strong suction-cup base, Tiki offers all the versatility of a classic, vibrating dong — but disguised as a fun, whimsical sea creature, making it our top pick for retailers who might be looking to expand their fantasy offerings in the new year.”

To pinpoint opportunities, JO’s sales and marketing teams carefully track popular ingredients and trending products. The brand’s annual marketing calendar covers new product launches, promotional support plans, in-person events and campaign ideas to drive a consistent brand message that delivers against the company’s goals.

“Our process is methodical and deliberate and sets the tone for the year to come,” JO’s Ferencz says. “It’s a team effort.”

In January, the company is debuting H2O Anal Thick.

“As one of our most recent 510(k) FDA-licensed formulas, H2O Anal Thick is five times thicker than our best-selling H20 Anal product and designed with extra cushion without compromising feel and glide,” Ferencz adds. “Specifically developed for backdoor use, H2O Anal Thick is made without desensitizers, is pH-neutral and, as a water-based formula, is perfect for easy cleanup.”

As a company specializing in sextech innovations, Kiiroo is constantly working on advancing and innovating new and existing products. The company has new product launches and updates planned for the FeelConnect App and other interactive devices. Kiiroo expects the PowerBlow to become its newest bestseller in 2024, and has plans for marketing campaigns and increased support for customers worldwide.

“Clients can continue to rely on us to expand the FeelStar Strokers line, adding the most popular adult performers to the collection every quarter,” says Kozlova. “On the business side, we are working on new marketing campaigns across the continents, increased B2B support, POS materials and video manuals, as well as trade shows all over the world and store visits across the U.S.”

Product upgrades and new releases also are in the pipeline from Rock Candy Toys for 2024. Jackie Richerson, the company’s sales and project manager, said that the brand is currently focused on its new collaboration with KushKards called NaughtyVibes.

“The two teams have come together in a truly serendipitous fashion to bring our customers something brand new,” Richerson said. “Each NaughtyVibe card is handcrafted with a much-loved card design, one Honey Stinger bullet, and a Fresh Vibes Toy Cleaner wipe. Everything you need for a gift, bachelorette party favor, or something special just for you.”

With new product launches, advancements in technology and a focus on customer satisfaction, today’s pleasure brands are ready to make 2024 a banner year.

Behind Every Great Product: Training, Education and Support

Pleasure brands are ramping up more than just new products and upgrades in the new year. They are also raising the standards for comprehensive training, education and support for both partners and customers.

“We understand the importance of well-informed retailers and customer support, which is why we’re investing in extensive training programs,” Satisfyer’s Garlow says. “These initiatives will ensure that our partners are fully equipped to guide and educate consumers, enhancing their overall experience with our products.”

Curry emphasizes that, with more people exploring new types of play, education becomes even more paramount.

“Retail stores play a crucial role in providing valuable and reliable information,” she says. “There is a gap between people seeing something they want to try in online content, and having the proper training and understanding to explore that activity in an informed manner. Retailers committed to offering informative education on different kinds of play are essential in addressing this gap.”

Another company that aims to provide accurate information and resources about sexual health, consent and pleasure is Sensuous. Jones believes that accessible and accurate information is key to empowering individuals and promoting sexual wellness. With a vision of helping individuals make informed decisions and enhance their sexual well-being, Sensuous plans to offer weekly blog posts on taboo subjects surrounding sexual health and well-being. 

Trigg Labs is also planning to prioritize information for 2024 — specifically for retail and distribution partners, in the form of informative in-depth training programs.

“Training sessions are being offered online but also in person, since ours really is a product category that benefits from a hands-on approach!” Eustace says. “We aim to cover as much of the map as possible in the coming year. If we do it right, everywhere we go, Wet should be synonymous with the phrase ‘Just Add Sex.’”

For Nobü, reaching retailers effectively means the opposite: moving more resources online.

“Moving our instruction manuals, marketing assets and training videos online simply aligns with the ever-growing demands of a connected world, ultimately offering our partners and clients more accessible and efficient support that has global reach while minimizing our environmental impact,” explains Fosty. “Online platforms are also easily scalable and have the potential to accommodate a large user base without significant logistical challenges. This scalability will be particularly beneficial to our partners going through expansion, or who may have fluctuating training needs.”

JO touts a robust retail training program that focuses on supporting its retail partners with in-store training.

“We have seven JO reps traveling the world,” Ferencz says. “Training lasts about an hour and we teach retailers and associates about JO as a company, why our products are different from others, ingredient uses and, most importantly, sales tips. It’s great to know about a company and its products, but if associates don’t know how to sell the products, and what customer to sell each product to, you’re leaving money on the table.

“Our retailer support is multifaceted,” Ferencz adds. “We support events with personnel and giveaways. We have a full library of launch packages, product education and training materials, marketing materials and signage. We supply everything you need to successfully carry, promote and sell JO.”

Pleasure brands are also planning to expand their retailer support efforts with the addition of new personnel.

“[Rock Candy Director of Sales] Tracy Leone and the team have always been very big proponents of supporting our customers in store from the ground up,” Richerson said. “With our expanding sales team, we’re thrilled to have even more avenues to be on location, helping promote both our brand and our retail partners’ business, giving out samples, and making sure each staff member feels confident in their product knowledge from fun and educational training events. There will always be a little bit of road warrior at the heart of us as long as customers and retail staff are requesting in-store support.”

Through its video training program and educational outreach, Kiiroo aims to reach both pleasure professionals and end consumers. The company delivers updates and educational content via platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram, and Kozlova also hosts sexual health and wellness YouTube channel “InBedWithKate.”

“We find it is important when opening new accounts to utilize frequent contact through Zoom training, and in-person trainings are scheduled right away to assist sales staff on how to operate our products and present the technology with in-depth experience,” Kozlova says. “We are focused on delivering our updates consistently through direct channels, social media and event marketing. We offer all our retailers marketing support from Kiiroo that includes customized digital assets, promotional materials and sales boost strategies.

“As a global brand, it is very important to focus on gaining knowledge and understanding every demographic and region we serve,” she adds. “Each requires its own approach and as we grow into new markets, I like to work with leaders in these areas to develop the material to properly communicate the core concepts of sexual wellness on their terms.”

Companies like Satisfyer, Sensuous, Trigg Labs, Nobü, JO and Kiiroo are investing in sex ed and retail staff training initiatives to enhance customers’ overall experience. From extensive training programs to online support and educational tools, these companies aim to empower their retailers, partners and consumers with knowledge and resources. As they move forward into the new year and beyond, their strategies are poised to strengthen the industry and make sexual wellness and pleasure more accessible to everyone.

New Ambitions

Each new year represents a chance for businesses across the pleasure industry to explore new horizons, foster growth and enhance collaboration within this vibrant and evolving sector. As the calendar turns, they are setting their sights on fresh opportunities and ambitious goals.

“With a vision to capture the hearts and desires of customers in the U.S. and the U.K., Sensuous is all set to make its mark in these vibrant markets,” Jones declares. “Already a trusted presence in Superdrug stores in the U.K., Sensuous aims to broaden its horizons by offering its sensationally crafted products to a wider audience.”

Other key players are also gearing up for remarkable accomplishments. Trigg Labs has set the goal of improving how its products look with a clean, consistent look on the shelf of every adult store in America.

Meanwhile, Tantus, celebrating its 25th anniversary, plans to introduce new retail marketing programs and sales tools that celebrate its loyal customer base.

“We’re looking forward to sharing more details on that in the coming months,” Curry says. “Additionally, we plan to update our vision and North Star values to align with the evolving priorities of the Tantus brand.”

With both new and established brands committed to providing innovative products and experiences that cater to the desires and needs of their customers, the pleasure industry finds itself right where it belongs: on the cusp of exciting new developments. As these companies push the boundaries of pleasure, 2024 promises to be a year of growth, innovation and unprecedented customer satisfaction that will continue to elevate the industry to new heights.

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