Masturbatory products, sexual accessories, condoms, massage Gels, lubricant… Recently in China, as adults’ attitudes toward sex and sex toys become more and more unperturbed, the enthusiasm for sex toys is slowly being ignited.
Chinese adult toy market has huge potential with the burgeoning increase in recent years. During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, not every business is drooping, for example, the sex toy industry in China.
Overview of the sex toys market in China
There are over 900 million sexually active people in China. Over 63% of the sex toy sales came from young adults aged under 35. Chinese sex toy market was booming in the recent few years.
According to data from Statista, the market size of adult toys in China amounted to 348.8 billion yuan, with 9% year-on-year growth in 2018.
Even though China is currently the largest exporter of sex toys in the world, accounting for 70% of available sex toys, they’re now reorienting their market on importation to meet the increasing demand from the domestic market looking for high-quality products.
The sexual revolution in China
The era of “feeling uncomfortable when talking about sex” is slowly fading away. Compared with European and American countries where people are more open about sex and topics about sex are not a “taboo” like it was in China. The country had been subject to the shackles of conservative cultural concepts.
The early adult products industry started late, it was difficult to increase the market volume, and the overall development was slow. The state’s supervision of the industry has also gone through a process from prohibition to strict management and control, and then benign guidance for sustainable development.
The change in regulations indirectly confirms domestic people’s rational understanding of sex culture, leading to increasing demand for adult products and the rapid development in the sex toys sector.
E-commerce is in the heyday of sex toys
In 1993, the first sex shop in China mainland was opened in Beijing. At that time, some customers hurriedly left their money and walked out without change after shopping because they were “shy”. People felt so awkward when purchasing in retail shops.
In 2003, the rise of e-commerce brought a catalyst to the industry. This year, China’s e-commerce was starting to see the buds of progress, and both Taobao and JD went online. Also this year, China’s largest adult product chain brand Jusechengren (Orange Adult in English) decided to break through the mist of secrets in the adult product industry for many years, and established the online platform “Jusechengren.”
In China, even though changes have been made, adult products are still a relatively sensitive industry. E-commerce can well protect consumer’s privacy and it is very convenient to use with abundant comparable information as well as an efficient supply chain system, as a result, traditional offline operators have been surpassed by e-commerce.
In 2019, the scale of China’s sex toys market on e-commerce reached 38.92 billion yuan, with an annual growth rate of more than 50% for several consecutive years. It is expected to exceed 60 billion yuan by 2020.
Where to sell adult toys in China?
You can sell your sex toys in 2 main ways, that are offline distributions and online e-commerce. Offline selling consists of sex toy shops, convenience stores, and supermarkets. It is a traditional way, even though its market share has been surpassed by online sales, but it still exists in China for now.
Another way to sell your products is e-commerce, which is very popular right now in China and also an ideal way for adult toys selling for convenience and secrecy.
As for online sales, B2C e-commerce is the most common and most competitive model. Competitors can be divided into three major camps:
- Large-scale comprehensive e-commerce;
- Vertical adult product e-commerce;
- Traditional medicine e-commerce.
B2B is currently the most mature and clearest profit model. This model is mainly composed of comprehensive e-commerce platforms represented by Alibaba and vertical sex toy e-commerce platforms represented by Chinasexq.
The C2C model is quite chaotic due to the low entry barriers. This model is monopolized by Taobao. After years of development, the C2C adult product market is moving from the blue ocean market to the red ocean one, and it is imminent to seek change. Especially when it concerns sex toys, where Chinese consumer is looking for high-quality, reliable and imported products.
How to enter the giant sex toy market in China?
Ensure the quality of your products
At present, most of the products on the Chinese market are low-end products, and there is a lack of private labels. Besides the distribution channels and marketing strategies, from the beginning, it is vital to ensure the quality of your sex products, as the market is in transformation where premium products are highly in demand.
The technical threshold of sex toy products is not high, but the distinction lies in product quality. From the perspective of consumer groups, today’s main force of adult products is no longer confined to the middle-aged group but tends to be a younger group, with rising affluence and higher requirements for quality.
Brand awareness & e-reputation: essential for your success
In China, consumer is very suspicious of products on the market because of several quality scandals happened, especially for sex toys that are in close contact with the body. If your brand is unknown, the Chinese will not buy your products.
Therefore, once you have ensured the quality of your products, the next step is sure to work on your brand awareness as well as your e-reputation. Chinese social media can help you. However, keep in mind that popular social platforms in the West like Facebook, and Twitter are all blocked in China by the Chinese Great Firewall. In China, people use WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, etc.
Wechat, with more than 1.2 billion users, is, without a doubt, the leading role in the market. Chinese spend about 82 minutes per day on the APP, it is thus a powerful tool for your campaign. It provides three main advertising ways as the above picture shows.
Weibo is the largest open social network in China, having more than 550 million registered users. It is very efficient for your brand awareness through mass marketing. Every user on the platform can read every content published.
KOL marketing is efficient for a high conversion rate
KOL (Key Opinion Leader) marketing is usually applied on Weibo to a point that almost every KOL or celebrity that you can name has an account on Weibo.
KOL marketing is very popular now in China. Since most Chinese people do not trust the information disseminated through traditional marketing channels, KOL provides a more authentic and trustworthy form of advertising. KOLs have established trust with the audience, they are more convincing than traditional advertising or branded content.
Choosing the right KOL who suits well your brand value, image, and concept can promote the conversion rate and bring the brand a good ROI.
This article is trying to give you as much information about the Chinese sex toy market. However, the market is giant, so it is a challenge and complexity. There are many other social networks not mentioned and e-commerce platforms not presented.
How does work KOL marketing and what are the tricks behind it? How to choose a good KOL with trustable performance data? Those are important questions you should be clear with.
GMA, an expert in Chinese digital marketing, has more than 8 years of experience. If you are serious about your project and you need more information and help, please feel free to contact us.