Market analysts at the Hewson Group have released a report on how the High Street should be looking at the market for sex and fantasy related goods for women.
We looked at this market because we thought it offered perhaps the biggest growth in the retail sector, says Nick Hewson. We did a relatively small but detailed survey with women in the 18-59 group and found that nearly half said they
would spend at least £150 a year on erotic related goods if the shopping environment was right. We know that there is already a core spend of about £250 million on such products for women so while £1bn may be high, £700m
is definitely not such an improbable figure given that the current market is almost totally dysfunctional and unleveraged.
Hewson Group believes that the depth of the opportunity is widely underestimated. Erotic products for women go way beyond sex toys and might include clothing, a range of accessories such as blindfolds, masks and silk ties, literature, oils,
candles and lubricants. Nick Hewson is of the opinion that almost all existing merchandising is not market aligned: Much of what we see today grew out of a more sleazy background with a backstreet image. It is tainted by a porn associated
ancestry. This is clearly not what women want - nor do their partners if they are gift shopping. A few companies have understood the future market, Myla, Lelo, Agent Provocateur, Shiri Zinn and perhaps Philips would be examples. But nearly
everywhere else the marketing is simply inept. The packaging is awful and websites are from another time.
Properly addressed, this market will be seen by the consumer as very close to mainstream, offers Nick Hewson: At the moment, however, there is very little validation conferred by well known brands or by aspirational advertising.
According to Hewson the market has two significant drivers: The first is a basic and enduring human need - this is an area that is always understood to be as important as food and shelter so £150 a year is not a lot in that context and
might well prove to be very resistant to economic conditions. Secondly, it's a place where owning or receiving goods should be a pleasure in itself.
Off with their bollocks!...
Any man found enjoying a sex life will be
liable to the 'appropriate' summary penalty
Lap dancing clubs may be closed if they are located too near supposedly inappropriate sites such as schools, under transitional powers contained in the policing and crime bill published yesterday.
On lap dancing, the introduction of transitional powers to threaten existing lap dancing clubs goes further than originally billed. The man hating home secretary, Jacqui Smith, has already indicated that she expects the legislation to curb
the growth in the number of lap dancing clubs, which has doubled to 300 over the last four years.
But Coaker indicated that the transitional powers contained in the bill would give local authorities the power to refuse to renew the licences of existing clubs if there are local objections that they are sited inappropriately.
Despite the recent protests of the lap dancing industry that what goes on in their clubs is not sexually stimulating , the legislation proposes to categorise lap dancing clubs as sex encounter establishments and remove them from the
existing 2003 entertainment licensing regime, which classed them along with bars and pubs. A sex encounter venue is defined as one in which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser. An
audience can consist of only one person.
The effect will be to allow local authorities to take far more account of the views of nutters in granting new licences and to ban the opening of further clubs by declaring that a particular town or city centre has reached saturation point
Banks join benefit cheats, lap-dancing clubs and drinkers at the top of a list of targets for legislative action to be unveiled today.
Gordon Brown has made unfairness to men the theme of the second Queen's Speech of his premiership.
Companies will be free to discriminate in favour of women and black job candidates under a proposed Inequality Bill. The move allows employers to give preferential treatment as long as applicants are equally qualified. It is designed to boost the
proportion of female and ethnic staff, as well as thrusting more of them into senior posts.
Measures to toughen laws against benefit fraud, ban alcohol promotions and reclassify lap-dancing clubs as sex encounter establishments were trailed yesterday.
Plans by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, for a new Bill of Rights have been shelved.
The Prime Minister said in a document previewing the Queen's Speech yesterday. So as Government takes action, we expect people to play their part in return, with clear consequences for those who do not.
The speech will also announce a Crime Bill changing prostitution and drink laws. There will be proposals to criminalise men who pay for sex with trafficked women. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, has made clear the bill would include a strict
liability offence of paying for sex with a trafficked or pimped woman which means that ignorance will be no defence for those accused. The Conservatives have already indicated they are likely to oppose this, making tackling prostitution one
of the more unlikely flashpoints in politics over the coming months. [Saying that I didn't notice the Paying for sex provision in any of the Home Office press releases accompanying the Queen's Speech.]
Pbr on the Melon Farmer's forum notes the absence of a Bill to prohibit non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse ... perhaps the first bit of good news in government policy for quite a while now.
Lap dancing is not sexually stimulating, the chairman of the Lap Dancing Association told a parliamentary committee.
Simon Warr made the claim, which was greeted with justifiable scepticism by MPs, while he was giving evidence to the Commons culture committee as part of an inquiry into the operation of the Licensing Act.
The government is under pressure to change the act so that lap dancing clubs have to be licensed as sex encounter establishments.
At the moment, they are licensed in the same way as pubs and clubs, which has led to complaints from councils who believe that they do not have the power to stop clubs being opened in their areas.
In their evidence to committee, Warr and colleagues from the Lap Dancing Association claimed that their clubs should not be classified as sex encounter establishments because they were providing hospitality, not sexual services. But Warr
astonished the committed when he argued that sexual stimulation was not part of the clubs' attraction.
One of the biggest problems we face is that not enough people understand the business blueprint of our clubs, he said: Actually, our premises are not sexually stimulating. It would be contrary to our business plan if they were.
At this point, Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley who was questioning Warr, said he found that hard to believe.
Warr replied: Then you need to go to a club, because the purpose of a club is to provide entertainment. It's to provide alcohol, it's a place of leisure. All right, the entertainment may be in the form of nude or semi-nude performers, but it's
not sexually stimulating.
Peter Stringfellow, the strip club owner, who was giving evidence alongside Warr and his colleagues, intervened to try to explain what he thought Warr had meant by his comments.
Of course it's sexually stimulating. So is a disco. So is a little girl flashing away with her knickers showing. Of course it's sexually stimulating. So is David Beckham laid out in his Calvin Klein [underwear]. So are the Chippendales. Of
course it does have some form of sex.
But what my colleague was trying to explain was that it's not sex, 100%. It's not 'I'm going to go and get divorced.' It does not go on like that. Our environment lasts three minutes. Their clothes are on and off before you can blink. It's a lot
more to do with personality. It's a lot more to do with the ambience of the club.
Earlier in the session, Davies asked the Lap Dancing Association to respond to allegations that at some clubs dancers do offer sexual services, contrary to the rules. Chris Knight, the vice chairman of the association, replied: We are not
saying there are not bad clubs. There are bad drivers. But you do not change the way that you licence drivers.
Kate Nicholls, the secretary of the Lap Dancing Association, said that councils already had enough power to stop clubs opening under the existing legislation, which allows them to consider issues such as public safety, public order, public
nuisance and the protection of children: If you cannot form an objection to an outlet [under one of these criteria], then you are just accepting that you have got a fundamental objection to the premises.
But the committee also heard from two representatives of Object, a human rights organisation campaigning against the sex object culture. Object wants lap dancing clubs to be classified as sex encounter establishments.
Sandrine Leveque, Object's advocacy officer, said: Lap dancing clubs promote gender stereotypes and their expansion is therefore of concern to women's organisations up and down the country.
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