We studied the number of searches for sex toys (relative to population size) in the United States and Europe to analyze interest in adult sex toys across regions.
The sex toy market is growing at an annual rate of approximately 7.6% and is expected to reach $15 billion by 2026. This shows that the stigma around the use of sex toys is being broken, and they are slowly becoming commonplace in daily life.
Sex appeal has become an important part of popular culture and social media, and many retail and pharmaceutical giants sell sex products in brick-and-mortar stores, further increasing the popularity and exposure of the sex industry and promoting its de-stigmatization.
When talking about sexual health and general well-being, professionals often emphasize the importance of practicing safe sex. This also includes the use of sex toys, which can often provide a safer alternative to single-use sexual contact. This is especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic, where casual sex dating is impossible and people are turning to sex toys to quench their thirst.
For this study, we looked at search volumes for the 4 most popular sex toy types of keywords: vibrators, realistic human sex dolls, sex doll torsos, and Realistic Butts, as well as searches for the entire Generic keyword for sex toys. All keywords are researched in English and each language is used in European countries.
The UK researches sex toys 41.7% more than any other country in Europe and 56.7% more than any US state.
The term “sex toy” is researched more than twice as much in the UK as in any other country in Europe and more than three times as much as in any US state.
Germans have the most research on vibrators, with an average of 326.6 searches per month. This is 3 times the average monthly search volume of 103 searches in Louisiana, the highest in the nation.
Sex doll torso is similar in popularity in Europe and the US, with Maine and Iceland topping the list with an average of 111 and 99.5 monthly searches, respectively.
The regions with the most searches for aircraft cups are Oregon and Switzerland, with 240 and 221.9 searches, respectively.
U.S. states are very close in search volume. In Europe, Western European countries lead and surpass the US in search volume, search volume does correlate with income, but in the US and Europe the correlation is reversed: GDP and average income are related to searches for sex toys, in less wealthy US state Slightly higher interest in sex toys. Europe showed stronger correlations, but in the opposite direction, with higher search volumes in richer country regions.
Summary: Western European countries, especially the UK, are far ahead
To get an idea of overall interest in sex toys, we added together the search volumes for all the keywords we researched. This value is then divided into the population of the corresponding state or country. The last number shows the estimated average monthly searches per 100,000 adults.
Data shows that Brits have the highest overall interest in sex toys. The runner-up is Denmark, which is 41.7% lower than the UK. The remaining three countries in the top 5 are the UK, Italy, and France, with almost twice as many searches.
In the U.S., however, there is little difference between states, and no state stands out significantly. The top 5 include West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Maine, and Mississippi.
Western European countries have the most searches for “sex toy”
We counted how many people searched for the term “sex toy” and other synonyms that are more popular in certain countries (such as “sex toy”).
In this case, we found that Brits again showed the highest interest in sex toys. In the UK, people study the term twice as often as any other country in Europe and more than three times as often as any state in the US. In a state-by-state comparison in the US, it is clear that the results are similar, with no state numerically dominant. In the United States, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maine are in the top three, and in Europe, the top three are the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Italy.
Germans are the most searched country for “Vibrators”, 3 times more than any US state.
Vibrators are one of the most popular sex toys in the world. They make up about 39% of the entire sex toy market.
The top three countries in Europe include Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands. U.S. states were very close in searches, with Louisiana at No. 1, Mississippi in runner-up, and Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming tied for third.
Italy and UK top searches for lifelike human sex dolls
Like vibrators, lifelike sex dolls lead the sex toy market with a 21% market share.
Lifelike sex dolls are more popular in Europe than in the US, with Italy, the UK, and Denmark leading the way.
In the U.S., Alaska has the highest searches for lifelike sex dolls, trailing West Virginia and North Carolina.
Sex doll torso is similar in popularity in Europe and America
The most searched countries in Europe (relative to their population) include Iceland, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
In the US, the sex doll torso is most searched in Maine, Alaska, and West Virginia. When data from these two regions are combined, US states dominate, with only one country in Europe making the top 5.
Realistic Butts (Masturbation toys)
The most searched countries in Europe are Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and France. In the United States, Oregon, New Mexico, and Oklahoma are in the top 3.
Historically, sex toys have mostly been seen as an industry aimed at women. That has changed recently, with masturbation cups, Realistic Butts, and male masturbators, becoming one of the fastest-growing products in the sex toy industry.
This significant growth may contribute to the growing popularity of male sex toys in general, as Realistic Butts is a gateway to both manufacturers and consumers. The industry saw potential, and consumers found a gateway product to a market that might be perceived as negatively biased.
Wealth and Sex Toys
We’re also curious to see if there’s any correlation between state (or country) GDP and interest in sex toys. To determine this, in the United States, the higher the GDP per capita, the lower the interest in sex toys. In Europe, the opposite is true, with countries with higher GDP per capita tend to show a higher interest in sex toys. There, the distinction between countries is more pronounced, with low GDP countries showing lower search volumes almost exclusively.
The keywords we used for our research were primarily sourced from an industry report by Statista, which measures the market share of popular sex toys. We manually collected keywords for the best-selling products on several major sex toy e-commerce sites such as Adam & Eve. We use generic keywords rather than brand-specific keywords. The only exception is Fleshlight, which has become synonymous with “aircraft cups” from our initial survey data.
For non-English language markets, we used local online adult entertainment stores to identify similar keywords used in their respective countries. We used the Google Trends tool to determine the relative popularity of each keyword across the country. We use this data, along with the U.S. Census census report, to prorate the estimated search volume to each U.S. state. Gross domestic product (GDP) and average income data come from the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. All demographic data are from the U.S. Census Bureau or the CIA World Factbook.
In this study, we only used estimates from the Google search engine, which means we had to adjust demographic data to account for Google’s market share in each country. We used all of this data to calculate the number of searches per 100,000 adults.