(Note: This story appears in the April 2022 issue of SE Magazine)
*Story by Dr. Sunny Rodgers
Sexologist and intimate health advisor for M.D. Science Lab Dr. Sunny Rodgers explores what is driving this growth and where the future of intimate lubrication is heading.
The personal lubricant market is growing at an incredibly fast pace. Of course, one could point to the coupling effects of the pandemic lockdown as the driving factor. But what if it’s more than that?
According to research, the global personal lubricant market is expected to reach USD 1.6 billion by 2026. That amount is on par with some other industries — such as saffron, vitamin D, and false eyelashes; however, the lubricant market is growing at a much faster pace.
So, let’s take a look at what’s driving this growth and why it isn’t just people feeling friskier throughout the pandemic.
Four top reasons the personal lubricant market is booming
1. Increasing acceptance
Research is reporting that more people, particularly women, are becoming accepting of the use of personal lubricants.
Instagram and Facebook, along with many mainstream advertising outlets, are relaxing their rules around ads featuring lube. This has allowed many lubricant brands to become more visible to a larger number of consumers and has helped ease the perceived stigma that many people have.
And let’s not forget that celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Dakota Johnson, and Cara Delevingne have all entered the sex toy industry, helping increase exposure for the entire market.
2. Mimicking the upward sales trend of the sex toy market
As of December 2021, the US sex toy market surged to an estimated $12.6 billion, while the global industry was estimated at $35 billion in 2020.
New manufacturers are entering the market and are offering their own brand of consumable goods, such as condoms and lubricant. Many of these new sex toys encourage the use of lube to ensure a smoother, more pleasurable experience.
As the sex toy industry grows, so does the personal lubricant market.
3. More online stores offer easy, discreet access
For the past two years, online shopping has become the standard. Having a plethora of online stores to choose from has helped the industry boom.
Keep in mind, lubricants are almost always sold as an upsell opportunity for online shoppers, allowing many consumers to try lube. The privacy and discretion of online shopping also lets consumers try products they wouldn’t normally purchase in person.
4. Personal lubricants can be helpful for medical conditions
A new study by the University of Florida Health has found that men who have had COVID-19 are more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Using lube can help by enhancing sensitivity and intensifying erotic touch, allowing men to get aroused and attain an erection.
Indiana University found the use of personal lubricants led to more satisfying sex.
Lack of natural lubrication and certain medications can lead to vaginal dryness and irritation. Personal lubricants can make sexual activities more pleasurable.
“Instagram and Facebook, along with many mainstream advertising outlets, are relaxing their rules around ads featuring lube. This has allowed many lubricant brands to become more visible to a larger number of consumers and has helped ease the perceived stigma that many people have.” — Dr. Sunny Rodgers
Where is the future of intimate lubrication heading?
Sexual wellness products as a whole are growing prominence and are also becoming a larger marketplace in emerging countries in the global market. As this market grows, more manufacturers are taking a closer look at their product lines and are expanding offerings.
Being that more consumers are using lube, brands are offering different ingredient options. The rising demand for preservative-free, organic, and natural products is a driving factor here.
Some consumers like a smooth liquid lube, others want a gel or paste that stays where placed. Many new ingredients are dictating texture, such as coconut oil.
Since touch is an important sense, manufacturer research will also be looking at new options and delivery systems.
Yes, there’s a new generation of lube users who are very open to sexual exploration. Many brands are creating products that appeal to younger users and are including digital marketing campaigns that connect to millennials.
Be prepared for lubricant innovations
DNA is being used for customized skincare products. Nanotechnology is being used in motor oil to improve performance.
Is the use of DNA data, nano-additives, or something else extraordinary in our future personal lubricants that far behind?
Dr. Sunny Rodgers is the founder of Sunsplash Media Group and the intimate health advisor for M.D. Science Lab.