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Updated February 2019
This is the 2019 Sex Toys Market Performance Report.
We’ve produced this report so that industry leaders in the sex toy market can better understand how they fit within their digital landscape and how they measure up to competitors in the field.
Looking at the performance in nine key metrics year-on-year, the report ranks the top websites in this sector against each other. Scores are qualitative and analyse areas such as Brand Reach, SEO Visibility and Link Authority among others. This gives a top-line view of the Sex Toys Market in more detail, for your reference.
Although we only include information and data gathered about the best performers in the industry, we do collate data from the whole market to produce these reports. So, if you can’t find your brand name on the list, don’t worry. Just ask, and we’ll send the data that’s most relevant to you, including your company.
We wouldn’t be doing our job if we collected the data but didn’t read into it ourselves. We identify key takeaways of the report and market highlights. We’ve put together a series of highlights, but we’d still recommend downloading the report yourself to get the best overall view of the sex toys industry.
One of the main improvements everyone strives to make year on year is an increase in organic visibility.
Using Search Metrics, we track huge keyword sets to see the historical performance of online brands and discover who has made wins or losses for SEO in the past year.
There have been an equal number of wins and losses in terms of visibility this year, but the wins have been much bigger than the losses.
Ann Summers remains the market leader despite a 3% drop in visibility.
Lovehoney has also stayed in second place but lost 13% visibility year on year.
Bondara also kept their third-place position after losing 19% of their visibility.
Uberkinky has performed much better this year, increasing their visibility by 20%.
Making up the top five is Honour who has had a 7% visibility increase.
The rest of the top ten has had some fantastic wins:
The sex toys industry is a fast-growing market online. With online department stores such as Amazon selling the products, it can be difficult for brands to reach those top spots on Google.
Interestingly, ‘fleshlight’ is the highest competition keyword but Fleshlight is not ranking in position 1 for this term. Instead, Lovehoney has taken the top spot.
They are ranking for a lot of our featured keywords within the top 3 positions.
Their listings have one-line sitelinks to popular products and categories, making it easier for customers to reach their chosen product in less clicks.
In a ‘taboo’ market like this, making life easier for your customer is super important and could be the difference between a conversion or not.
Most of the keywords are related to specific products so you would imagine that the intent is mainly to purchase.
But some of the keywords are much more driven towards education and advice on this subject.
Even seemingly commercial terms bring up listicles about the best ones to buy and articles about how to use them.
Well done again to Love Honey who is ranking in position one for the term ‘best sex toys’ with a top ten shoppable guide. They’ve beaten the likes of Cosmopolitan and the Independent to get to the top spot.
Providing supportive guides to your potential customers is not only a great way to earn their trust and custom, but it’s also one of the top-ranking factors for Google at the moment.
Their recent EAT Update wants sites to focus on producing authoritative, reliable content that serves the user intent.
Ann Summers produces guides which fulfil the user intent by providing rich, informative content that is written by experts in the field and contains links to products with designs that don’t force a sale but keep it integrated well.
They are ranking on page 1 for the highest competition keyword ‘fleshlight’ with their guide on how to choose one. This guide also has links to purchase products at the end.
Adding shoppable content is a fantastic way to increase sales.
Read more on how to produce shoppable content.
Links are still the primary ranking factor within Google. The best way of attracting them is by having a strong content marketing campaign. Doing this well can be difficult in this kind of market, as there is sometimes a stigma attached. People, therefore, tend not to stick around on sex toy or adult market sites for longer than they have to.
Lovehoney is topping the links charts with the highest quality of links of all the retailers.
They’re gaining a lot of links to products and brand pages. They also provide a service which recycles sex toys called ‘Rabbit Amnesty’ which has gained over 100 unique backlinks including from high domain publications such as Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and Apartment Therapy.
We can see that in the past they’ve had competitions like ‘design a sex toy’ which gained a lot of links and coverage. This kind of thing is perfect for outreach, especially within the sex toys market. The competition gained a link from Erotic Trade Only, the UK’s leading erotic industry magazine.
Harmony is next on the list, gaining the highest number of links of a good quality.
We’re impressed to see that most of their highest linked-to content (aside from product images) consists of blog posts.
These range from “What is a…?” style posts to “how-to’s” and listicles.
It’s great that they’re already gaining links. And, judging by the titles, they are covering a lot of subjects. But we think they could enhance this blog even further.
Here are some ways they could turn this from a standard blog into a fantastic digital magazine:
These are some very basic initial fixes but should boost the rankings of these posts which will also add towards link building.
Lelo’s Global Sex Survey has been running for the last couple of years and has gained great coverage from top tier publications like Refinery29, Bustle and Daily Star.
Because they’ve used the same page but just updated the survey, all the links and link equity remain with this page, building the link profile every time.
Surveys and unique data pieces are perfect for outreach because they give journalists a bed of content to construct an article out of. And people love hearing statistics.
Nowadays, a strong social presence can make or break your brand. Social media channels are the online spaces to gain new audiences and, hopefully, turn them into customers.
We’ve looked at who has the best brand reach across the sector by comparing search volume and effectiveness of content performance across social channels.
Ann Summers is topping the social charts with the highest number of brand searches and a high owned social score.
They use their social channels well, posting content relevant for each account.
Their Facebook account includes promotional images, links to their articles and tutorial videos on styling.
They also post competitions which encourage people to like, share and comment, increasing the brand reach even further.
They post seasonal and event-based posts including Valentine’s day.
Their Instagram is much more tailored towards product images and short promotional videos.
However, they aren’t using the shoppable hotspot image feature which allows users to click and buy products. Enabling this could increase sales and revenue.
Honey Birdette has the highest owned social score of all the retailers.
This is not surprising considering they are a global brand.
Like Ann Summers, they tailor each platform with content to suit.
Most of their posts are images or videos, however they seem to have an issue with preview images not loading properly on Twitter.
The brand has landed themselves in hot water over the past year with multiple complaints about their advertisements being too racy and exposing too much flesh.
As they say, no publicity is bad publicity, especially when newspapers around the world are talking about you with thousands of engagements per article!
We keep banging on about using shoppable content on Instagram because we think it’s essential.
Previously, URLs or links of any kind did not work unless they were in the account bio – hence the often quoted ‘shop link in bio’.
Now, however, customers can click and be taken directly to the URL in question.
With an estimated 85% of snake people using their phones to make purchases before any other device and a membership of over 800 million, it opens up another vast audience who can click and buy in an instant.
This is especially important for markets like this in which people want the process to be discreet.
Instagram is the perfect place to advertise your products, give customers an insight into your brand and provide them with the option to purchase straight from the app.
Need more help with your digital strategies or want to find out where you fit in? Get in touch.