New Book Lifts The Lid on The UK Pleasure Sector

By on February 19, 2023

United Kingdom – Phenomenal growth of adult toy sector chronicled in new book.

From Sex Shops To Supermarkets: How Adult Toys Became A Multi-Billion-Pound Industry encompasses elements of business, social history, and popular culture as it details how a category once seen as a cheap joke has grown into a vibrant, and still-expanding, global industry in the 21st century.

With almost every major UK supermarket now devoting shelf space to adult toys, From Sex Shops To Supermarkets chronicles the phenomenal growth of the sector, and how mainstream television, cinema, and celebrities have rushed to embrace it.

The book features many of the industry’s milestone moments, including the consumer electronics giant that launched its own sex toy, the private prosecution that could have threatened the Ann Summers business model, and the great jiggle ball shortage of 2012.

It also explains how Lovehoney used clever PR to build its business and reveals the strategies behind some of its most successful campaigns. The book concludes with venture capitalists investing in leading players and merging them into ‘supergroups’.

Written by a journalist who has covered the industry for the last two decades, From Sex Shops To Supermarkets is peppered with exclusive interviews and unique insights. Not only is it a valuable resource for anyone who has an interest in the sex toys sector, it tells a fascinating story that cannot be found anywhere else.


As the 21st century began, Ann Summers pretty much had the sex toy sector to itself in the UK. Its high street shops and army of party planners ensured that anyone planning to buy a vibrator would most likely become an Ann Summers customer.

But things changed. Smart ambitious rivals, who traded over the internet rather than from bricks and mortar stores, began making inroads into the market. And there was no one smarter or more ambitious than Lovehoney. It is now a billion-dollar-business, and From Sex Shops To Supermarkets charts its astonishing story.

The book explains how sex shops have evolved over the last two decades and reports on the mainstream retailers who have tried to muscle in on the market. It also shines the spotlight on the celebs who have contributed to the gentrification of sex toys, looks back at the Fifty Shades phenomenon, and highlights some of the industry’s most innovative products.

About the author

Dale Bradford has been editing B2B magazines since 1995. From 2003 to 2022 he was editor of Erotic Trade Only (ETO), the only UK-based trade publication aimed at retailers of adult toys and pleasure products, giving him ‘behind the scenes’ access to the sector, and the people within it.


From Sex Shops To Supermarkets: How Adult Toys Became A Multi-Billion-Pound Industry is available now in paperback (£9.99) and ebook (£4.99) formats from Amazon platforms worldwide.

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