We researched people's interest in sex toys throughout the United States and Europe to identify which geographic regions do the most Google searches for adult products, relative to their population.
The sex toy market grows by roughly 7.6% each year and is expected to reach 54.6 billion by 2026. This is a good indicator suggesting that the stigma towards sex toy use is being broken down and they're slowly becoming commonplace in everyday lives.
Sexual health has become a significant part of pop culture and social media, increasing awareness and people's interest in adult merchandise. Certain drug stores and retail giants are now selling such products in their physical stores, further increasing visibility and making it less of a taboo.
The importance of practicing safe sex is frequently highlighted by healthcare professionals when talking about sexual wellness and well-being in general. This also encompasses sex toy use, which can often offer safer alternatives to one-time sexual encounters. This was especially the case during the COVID-19 pandemic when casual dating was not possible and people turned to sex toys to release their sexual energy.
The Study of Online Search Habits for Sex Toys
In this study, we looked at search volumes of 4 popular sex toy types, as well as generic keywords which are often used to search for sex toys as a whole. The categories we used include vibrators, dildos, penis rings, and male masturbators (penis sleeves). All keywords were researched in English and in every language spoken in the European countries.
* estimated number of Google searches per month, per 100.000 adult residents in that geographic area
Grand Total: Sweden Shows a Huge Lead
In order to see the overall interest in sex toys, we added together search volumes of all keywords we researched. This value was then divided to account for the population in the corresponding state or country. The final number shows the average number of estimated monthly searches per 100.000 adults.
The data signals that Swedish people showed the highest overall interest in sex toys. The runner-up was Denmark with interest that's 41.7% lower than that in Sweden. The remaining three countries in the Top 5 were the UK, Norway, and Finland which showed search volumes that were almost twice as low.
In the United States, the results showed that search patterns were similar without any state to significantly stand out. The Top 5 include West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Maine, and Mississippi.
United States Overall Searches for Sex Toys
Europe Overall Searches for Sex Toys
Generic Sex Toy Keywords Dominated by Northern Countries
We calculated how many people searched the term "sex toy(s)" and other synonyms which are more prevalent in certain countries (e.g. "erotic goods").
In this case, we discovered that, once again, Swedes show the highest interest in sex toys. In Sweden, people researched the term two times more often than any other country in Europe, and over 3 times more than any state in the U.S.
In a state-by-state comparison for the U.S., it's evident that results are similar without any state significantly dominating the numbers.
In the US, we have Mississippi, West Virginia, and Maine in the Top 3.
In Europe, the Top 3 countries were Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
United States Searches for Sex Toys
Europe Searches for Sex Toys
Estonia is Interested in Vibrators 3x More Than Any State in the U.S.
Vibrator is the most popular sex toy in the world. They account for roughly 39% of the overall sex toy market.
From what we discovered, they're 3 times more likely to be Googled in Estonia than they are in Louisiana, a state in the U.S. to show the highest search volume.
The Top 3 countries in Europe include Estonia, Poland, and the Netherlands. The results in the U.S. were similar in all leading states, with Mississippi being the runner-up and Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming sharing the third place.
United States Searches for Vibrators
Europe Searches for Vibrators
Norway and Sweden Share a Common Interest in Dildos
Just like vibrators, dildos lead the sex toy market with an estimated 21% market share.
The popularity of dildos is larger in Europe than in the U.S., with Norway, Sweden, and Denmark being in the lead.
In the U.S., Alaska showed the highest search volume for dildos, leaving West Virginia and North Carolina behind. The interest in Europe's leading country was 36.6% higher than the leading state in the U.S.
United States Searches for Dildos
Europe Searches for Dildos
Penis Rings Are Liked Equally
While some people use penis rings for health purposes, they're also commonly used for vanity reasons. Regardless of the cause, their popularity is similar in both Europe and the U.S.
The countries with the most searches in Europe (relative to their population) include Iceland, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
In the U.S. penis rings were most searched in Maine, Alaska, and West Virginia. If you combine the data from both regions, the U.S. states dominate with only one country from Europe making it into the Top 5.
United States Searches for Penis Rings
Europe Searches for Penis Rings
Penis Sleeves & Masturbators are Almost as Popular as Dildos
With Oregon in the lead, data shows that penis sleeves / male masturbators are almost as popular as dildos. In some cases - even more. Both the U.S. and European countries show a similar level of interest.
The highest-rated countries are Switzerland, the UK, and Finland. As per the U.S., it was Oregon, New Mexico, and Oklahoma in the lead.
Historically sex toys were mostly seen as an industry that's targeted towards women. Recently that has been changing, as penis sleeves and masturbators have become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the sex toy industry.
This significant growth likely contributed to the increasing popularity of male sex toys in general, as penis sleeves worked like a gateway both for the manufacturers and consumers. The industry saw the potential, and consumers found a gateway product to a market that might have been perceived with negative prejudice.
United States Searches for Masturbation Sleeves
Europe Searches for Masturbation Sleeves
Wealth versus Sex Toys
We were also curious to find out whether there is any correlation between state (or country) GDP and interest in sex toys. In order to determine this, the data was plotted on a scatter diagram, displaying:
- the search volume per 100.000 adults, versus GDP per adult capita,
- the search volume per 100.000 adults, versus average monthly income (in U.S. dollars);
This was done for U.S. states and European countries separately.
The charts helped us see the relationship between the two values, and answer the question of whether or not any correlation actually exists.
As you can see from the diagrams below, the relation is the opposite in the U.S. vs Europe.
When it comes to the U.S., the greater GDP per adult capita, the lower the interest in sex toys. However, in the case of the U.S., it is worth acknowledging that most states fall into a relatively narrow range, so it is difficult to draw strong conclusions just by this chart alone.
GDP vs. Search Volume U.S. states
In Europe, the situation is completely opposite and countries with higher GDP per capita tend to show a higher interest in sex toys. There, the distinction between countries is stronger, with low-GDP countries almost exclusively showing lower search volumes.
GDP vs. Search Volume Europe
Charts with average monthly income show very similar trends to those seen in charts displaying GDP. Relative positions between states and countries shift just slightly, without significantly changing the overall distribution. This applies to both the U.S. and Europe.
In order to understand the geographic dynamics of the adult sex toy market, we first outlined a set of keywords we would be using for our study.
A report by Statista was used to identify popular sex toys by their market share. We then manually investigated best-selling product types on several online stores (e.g. Adam & Eve).
It's worth noting that we only used generic keywords and not keywords for specific products. The only exception for this was Fleshlight, which we used as a synonym for "masturbation sleeves" or "masturbators". From our initial investigation, it was evident that Fleshlight has somewhat become a generic term that is commonly used to refer to masturbation sleeves as a whole.
For non-English speaking markets, we used local online adult stores to determine analogous keywords used in their respective countries.
We then used marketing insights from SemRush to determine estimated Google search volumes for each keyword in the U.S. and the European countries. We also considered using the Keyword Planner tool provided by Google, but we chose to not use it because it provided very large estimated ranges, which would make calculations difficult, especially for some European countries where search volumes are already very low due to their small populations.
Because SemRush does not provide granular estimations for U.S. states, we used the Google Trends tool to determine the relative popularity of each keyword across the country. We used this data, as well as the U.S. Census demographic reports to proportionally distribute the estimated search volume to each U.S. state.
For this research, we used estimations only for the Google Search engine, meaning we had to adjust population data to account for Google's market share in each country.
Finally, we used all of this data to calculate the estimated number of searches per 100 000 adult residents (both for individual keywords, and all keywords together).
The data from this study can be freely shared and used, as long as the original source is quoted and linked. Refer to "Embed" buttons on this page for easier integration into your web site.
This study was a result of scientific curiosity and does not aim to conclude any definitive outcome. With this study, our goal was to detect trends in search patterns and how they distribute geographically.
Because this study looked at generic keywords only, this might not display the full volume of the market, especially with individual products having their set of keywords which would be impossible to scope using tools that are currently available to the public.
Data that was sourced from SemRush is also indicative and might not match true search volumes, which are not available to the public.
We are not responsible for any sort of damages resulting from or arising directly or indirectly from data published on this page.