Is there enough room for another online sex toy store in New Zealand?
This question is probably running through some fledgling entrepreneurs’ heads right now!
After looking at their local bricks n’ mortar adult themed store on the High street for a specific kinky item, this question crosses many people’s minds: how much money are those online sex shops and little hole-in-the-wall city establishments making? And does New Zealand have capacity for another online sex shop?
The answer is (as you would expect) “no”.
Stay at home orders = online shopping explosion
Currently, the market is over saturated with online sex stores due to Covid-19.
The pandemic predictably resulted in reduced foot traffic walking past sex shops in various cities across New Zealand. And don’t forget to mention the lockdowns - which essentially brought all sex shop activities to an abrupt halt.
This caused every single one of those sex shop owners to figure out they better make the move to online access fast! Using their own capital, or using government agency funding provided to ease the transition to the online sphere, 2020 was the year of sex – in all its forms – going digital.
One of the biggest of these agencies is Auckland Unlimited (previously known as ATEED and RFA), based in Auckland. The recently merged agency and The Regional Business Partners have contributed tens of millions of dollars which enabled businesses to adapt and re-develop their business model to a more Covid-friendly one.
Most businesses used this money for online marketing activity, and who can blame them. There was a stampeding rush to understand how websites are designed and created. Business owners also participated in workshops (online or otherwise) to understand how to sell their products online and market to their new digital home shoppers.
High street sex shops join the online party
Given that the Covid-19 grants were not only available to Aucklanders, bricks n’ mortar sex shop owners all over New Zealand joined the move to the online party with gusto.
However, the second reason for this rapid transition is actually far more interesting, and not even connected to funds and grants: It’s incredibly easy to create an online store!
All the necessary tools and payment methods are available to anyone sitting in the comfort of their own living room. And, the best part is – it only costs around $29 USD (approximately $40 NZD) per month to keep a website functional and running.
Those numbers are correct. For the princely sum of $40 NZD per month, you can own your very own online sex shop too!
Anyone can create an account with Shopify or Wix those days (Shopify is recommended for eCommerce). All you have to do is add a few choice products (you don’t even have to own them – you can use drop shipping), and after a few mouse clicks – voilà! You’ve got yourself an online sex shop.
This ease of setup and sell is definitely going to contribute to the pressure the sex shop market is experiencing already.
Goodbye bricks n’ mortar sex shop?
Your new store can include integration with Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Alipay, Zip, Afterpay...you name it.
Also, adding pop ups to capture email list subscribers and email integration was something considered to be futuristic and high-tech only few years ago. Back then, you had to contact each service provider separately to give you the green light, follow a whole bunch of instructions, and then have your web developer work day and night to implement the code adjustments (and pay for the web developer’s overtime!).
Funny thing though, in 2021, the more established online stores, with their own CMS, are lagging behind. This is because their cosmetic and functionality changes take up a lot of resources, namely, time and money. They do still have few crucial advantages, such as massive email lists of customers, data concerning their customers’ shopping habits and preferences, brand awareness, and thousands of items in stock.
But when you add all these new online shops to the more famous local ones already in existence, like Peaches and Cream, Adult Toy Mega Store, and overseas sex stores, such as Wild Secrets and Love Honey, you get an oversaturated sex shop market with very few opportunities for each one to make a profit.
And don’t forget about the brands who don’t even focus on sex toys, per se, but still ship their products to New Zealand by the bucket load, like Amazon and AliExpress.
Never fear – your friendly, local, online sex shop is here!
Opportunities can be found if you focus on a single type of product aimed at a specialist market.
For example, selling only Fleshlights like Fleshtoys.co.nz or using an app to access a section of the global market devoted to your niche. If you can’t narrow your products down to a single range, you might want to direct your marketing on a single type of audience:
Sex aids for the disabled
Sexy lingerie and costumes in all sizes
Vibrators and dildos
Fetish shoes in all sizes
These niche markets still have room to grow, but the sales percentage from the all the sex toys sold in New Zealand is marginal at best. With negligible returns, one might consider setting up your own online sex shop to be just a waste of time (and effort, money, hopes, and dreams!) - the margins are just too low.
Don’t give up all hope if this is your goal. Higher profit margins can be found in herbal supplement ED pills and sex toys gadgets that use sophisticated software programs for maximum indulgent.
Good luck to all the fledgling online sex shop entrepreneurs out there – you’re going to need it!
Photos by Unsplash