The laws that govern s*xual wellness products and s*x toys are old, prudish and vague – but that hasn’t stopped Indians from embracing their s*xuality and find their own magic wands of pleasure online.
India is a land that embraces its s*xuality. History coincides with the fact as K*masutra – the world’s first texts on s*xuality – originated in India. Many monumental artifacts depicted on cave walls and temples depict India’s endorsement.
The trend somehow experienced huge obstacles between India’s rich history. As societies evolved, the most natural pleasure of man became a taboo – a hush-hush conversation that is restricted to bedrooms.
However, amid the growing western influence, the mindset is changing again and Indians seem to be overcoming their inhibitions. They aren’t just embracing their s*xuality but taking it to another level altogether.
Today, Indians across cities, big and small, are experimenting with s*xual wellness products and erotica accessories.
Today, Indians across both big and small cities are experimenting with s*xual wellness products and erotica accessories. The affluence is such that in spite of no formal laws allowing such a market, a survey by ThatsPersonal.com, an online adult s*xual wellness products retailer, estimated the size of the s*x toy market in India to reach $1.6 billion by 2020.
S*x Toy Market to reach whopping USD 1.6 billion by 2020
According to a global study by Technavio, in 2016 the global s*x toy industry was worth approximately $15 billion. The study forecasts the number to cross $29 billion by 2020, growing year on year at 7 per cent.
Indian s*x toy market is expected to touch $1.6 billion by 2020.
In comparison, the Indian s*x toy market is growing in leaps and bounds. In 2015, it stood at $453 million, it is expected to touch $1.6 billion by 2020, growing at a rate of 29.19 percent annually.
S*xual products and wellness market has come a long way from c*ndoms and lubes. The Blooming online stores these days offer contraceptives, performance enhancers, naughty lingerie, role play outfits, arousal products, erotica accessories, handcuffs, blindfolds, floggers, massagers, edible lingerie, role play costumes, gels, and massage oils.
Vague legality, repressive laws
The laws which guide the sale of these products is vague and prudish in India. While they prohibit to sell “obscene products”, retailers can still exploit loopholes in the absence of a clear cut definition of s*x toys. This enables them to offer a variety of accessories.
The laws in India prohibit selling “obscene products”, but retailers can still tread between the lines as there is no definition of s*x toys.
Indians are decent consumers of top international brands like Lelo, Hustler, and We-Vibe. Though, it’s illegal to start brick and mortar s*x toy shops in India. However, no such rules apply to e-commerce.
The country has indigenous online brands like ThatsPersonal.com, guptt.in and itspleazure.com. Basic erotica accessories can also be fetched from internet giants like Amazon.com. Companies are exploiting the opportunity in the market and are witnessing huge surge in demands.
Although stuff like dildos cannot be sold owing to the fact that it resembles female genitalia. But things like handcuffs and even vibrators shaped like lipsticks or small pens are not considered in the “obscene category”.
India loves S*x Toys – believe it or not!
The s*x toy market in India is being driven by young millennials. The third edition of India Uncovered survey, which observes trends and patterns of leveraging s*x toys and accessories in India, 44 percent of the customers fall in the 25-34 years age group. The age group forms the highest cart amount and also come back more often.
16% belong to the age bracket of 45+ and boast a higher ticket price, driving the market for luxury erotica. The above 45 age group is more dominated by females, as per the survey.
Almost 16% come from above the age of 45 and boast a higher ticket price, driving the market for luxury erotica.
Surveys also observe in general a pattern wherein Indian females are more open to experimentation with products in the domain in comparison to male counterparts. Women also have a cart size that is 18 percent more than men.
Which states top the demand?
The s*x toy market is still mostly driven by the metropolitans. Top five markets for erotica accessories are the five biggest cities Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kolkata, as per the Indian Uncovered study.
Tier II cities like Guwahati, Coimbatore, Indore and Surat registered a strong 25 percent rise in customer demand.
The market is also catching up fast in tier-II cities. Cities like Guwahati, Coimbatore, Indore, and Surat registered a strong 25 percent rise in customer demand. The demand for s*x toys reaches as far as tier-III cities such as Nanded, Dibrugarh, Imphal, and Bellari.
The major products in demand as per the India Uncovered Study were lubricants, intimate massagers, sexy lingerie, role play costumes, and handcuffs. The states with the highest demands are Assam, Bengal, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh. Other cities driving traffic are Bhopal, Panjim, Jaipur, Udaipur, Kochi, Lucknow, Rohtak, Haldwani, Gurugram and Noida.
Towards a more open society?
Although in its nascent stages, India’s s*xual wellness and erotica market have shown good momentum. Less than a decade old, the industry has seen a confident demand from a more open society. The online to doorstep service has helped people embrace these products in secrecy without judgmental eyes in the open.
The nascent market as of now consists of few hush-hush ground operations such as in Palika Bazaar in Delhi, but the online outlets have thrived. But India’s s*xual wellness industry is not mature enough to gauge the future at this stage.
The nascent market on ground consists of few hush hush operations such as in Palika Bazaar Delhi, but the online outlets have thrived.
The laws which govern the market are murky as of yet. This allows retailers to sell stuff which is not “obscene”. But it also keeps many mainstream rage products still out of the market. Also, a properly regulated environment will surely help the market to be bolder and reach out to more target audience.
On the other hand, in a country like India, it might be better to leave the laws vague, because who knows, if they enter the parliament for scrutiny, they might end up being more repressive than they already are.