Brits are spending less on self-pleasure as they are forced to focus on paying for food and utilities instead.
Research compiled by The Open University shows that the impact of the current cost of living crisis is hitting UK consumers hard, with 83 per cent of adults are reporting a rise in the cost of living, with 51 per cent having to spend less on non-essentials.
Moreover, according to The Office for Budget Responsibility disposable income has fallen massively so far this year, with an average loss of £2,320 loss per household – the biggest fall in living standards since their records began in 1956.
Among other sectors, this is hitting the sex toy space extra hard, following a pandemic boom.
The Open University researchers found that popular toy manufacturer Lelo experienced a 60 per cent increase in online sales in March 2020, with another major sex toy and lingerie retailers seeing a 27 per cent increase in sales of sex toys over the same period as people spent more time at home and focused on their sexual wellbeing.
However, those days are over, said the founder of popular London sexy toy business EmberHot, Ember – who wishes to remain anonymous.
She told City A.M. this morning she is concerned that businesses like hers are not considered in times of economic crisis.
“The pandemic highlighted the importance of self-care and looking after your mental health, so there was a rise in consumers buying these types of products. The sex toy industry boomed,” Ember said.
EmberHot’s sales have reflected this squeeze on the nation, with sales down an average of 50 per cent n the last 2 months as their consumers struggle with the higher cost of living.
“The cost of living crisis means less disposable income for most people – so it’s not a surprise that the sex toy industry is not a spending priority.”Owner of EmberHot
She added: “Sadly, the impact of this is that the mental health benefits, which are arguably important right now when most people are anxious about their financial circumstances, are being lost as people can’t afford to invest in these types of items.”
A study after the 2008 recession found that relationships that were hardest hit by the recession were two to three times more likely to see a relationship breakdown compared to those who were ‘insulated’ from the financial crash as sex and intimacy become second to financial worries.
“It’s no wonder that the cost of the living issue has taken the wind out of our sexual sails, with our relationships – and, by extension, sex – incurring collateral damage, Ember concluded.