A premium Australian retailer has announced it is selling sexual wellness products in store for the first time since opening doors nearly 200 years ago.
David Jones has been selling sex toys online since November 2021, but as the $24 billion industry continues to explode, the retailer is now testing the water with the X-rated products in its flagship Sydney store.
In partnership with Australian sexual wellness brand, Frenchie, David Jones customers will be able to purchase a range of bedroom-related products in a Valentine’s Day pop-up at the Elizabeth Street store.
Shayne Mele, Frenchie’s founder and CEO, explained the sudden spike in sex toy sales was created as a result of lockdowns amid the pandemic – but said demand hasn’t dwindled as normal life resumes.
“During the pandemic, with increasing numbers of people isolated without sexual partners, we witnessed the rise of self-pleasure, and – coupled with the lockdown online shopping boom – an increasing number of customers in the Australia opted to try sex toys to improve their love lives,” he told news.com.au.
“At Frenchie, we’ve seen 362 per cent year-on-year sales growth. In fact, when we launched one popular adult toy in late 2021 we couldn’t pack the orders fast enough.”
It’s not just lockdown that changed Aussie sex habits, with Shayne stating the “acceptance of sexual wellbeing as a major pillar of our health” has also changed the way we think and shop.
“As a result of sex toys entering the mainstream, the stigma attached to sexual experimentation, and sex toys, has dissipated somewhat, and we’ve seen a more liberal attitude take its place,” he said.
“The rise has also been bolstered by sex-positive movements that have helped quash stereotypes relating to gender, age, social constructs, etc.
“The growing LGBTQ+ population in developed countries is driving market growth, with the LGBTQ+ population often the primary user of sexual wellness products.”
But while the sexual wellness industry is predicted to expected to grow at by 4.8 per cent every year according to one data analyst report, Shayne said many were reluctant to invest in the industry.
“When I first tried to raise funding for Frenchie, we found that there were certain venture capitalists and family offices who expressed that it didn’t matter what the business looked like, they couldn’t invest in sexual wellness and other ‘vices’,” he revealed.
The “stigma” surrounding the sex industry is clearly something that hasn’t put David Jones off, with the Australian retailer first launching its sexual wellness section 15 months ago.
David Jones category manager of beauty, Ben James Mitchell, said the Frenchie pop-up was the result of seeing “growing demand for personal pleasure products” in Australia.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer our customers the chance to shop Frenchie products in person in our flagship store with this exclusive Valentine’s Day pop-up.”
Located in the intimates department on the fourth floor of David Jones’ flagship Elizabeth St store in Sydney, the pop-up will run for a limited time from February 10 until February 14.
Each purchase will receive a free Frenchie gift and a freshly baked French croissant from local French patisserie, La Renaissance.
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