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Bengaluru is where Love Depot sells the most tech-advanced sex products: Arjun Siva, TTK Healthcare

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Shiv Joshi
Shiv Joshi
An editor with over 20 years of experience across industry verticals and content formats from tabloids to magazines, he is the Deputy Group Managing Editor at Images Group.

Arjun Siva, Head of Digital & E-commerce at TTK Healthcare on its passion products superstore Love Depot, consumption trends of sexual wellness products in the country, and more…

The 1928-established TTK Group is known for the Prestige brand of cookers, and iconic brands like Woodwards Gripe Water. However the nearly century-old group, through its Chennai-based group company TTK Healthcare Ltd., has also set its sights on a different and unusual industry: The sexual wellness market.

TTK is also a leading player in the country’s sexual wellness market selling Skore condoms, the female pleasure brand MsChief, and Love Depot, a portal selling pleasure and passion products. India’s sexual wellness market is expected to reach $2.095 billion in size by 2030, up from $1.153 billion in 2020 as per a report by Allied Market Research.

TTK Healthcare’s online sexual wellness platform Love Depot sells a variety of pleasure products from vibrators, massagers, rings, oils, and sprays to condoms and games priced at Rs499 and above. They are primarily available on its website, with some collections being offered on select marketplaces.

The products are shipped in discreet packaging without any logos, order information, or indication of what’s inside. The brand also offers a self-pickup option, giving customers full control over when and how to collect their purchases.

Launching Love Depot in 2022 in a conservative market like India was a bold move for the Chennai-based company. However, the gamble seems to be paying off as the portal is gaining popularity among its discreet consumers, with the division registering more than 100% year-on-year growth, with a healthy margin, revealed Arjun Siva, Head of Digital & E-commerce at TTK Healthcare.

“We are able to manage these since major sales come from our D2C marketplace,” Siva said.

In an exclusive interview, Siva uncovers facts about Love Depot, growth plans, and challenges faced by sexual wellness players in India. Edited excerpts…

Tell us about the kind of products you sell.

Love Depot’s primary focus is massagers. These include self-pleasure products for men and women, and also products for couples to enjoy together. Apart from toys, we also have a wide range of lubricants and condoms. From playthings for beginners to high-end gadgets, which can be controlled from anywhere across the world through an app, we have a wide range of offerings catering to everyone’s specific pleasure needs.

We have a 50 – 50 mix of homegrown and trustworthy international brands, which we import. These include Satisfyer, Honey Play Box and Je Joue to ensure the availability of world-class sex tech products for Indian consumers.

Who buys your products?

We have an exciting distribution, with an equal share of customers from India and Bharat. And a fairly even geographical spread, which also strengthens our belief and reassures us of the potential of this category. When it comes to gender, again we have a healthy mix of people from all genders, though we have seen accelerated traction for products that can be used by couples, mostly driven by male buyers.

Which are your top-selling products and the hottest market?
Our top sellers are a mix of Indian and international brands, with our top three categories being a surprising mix of couple, female, and male products i.e. vibrating rings, rabbit vibrators, and powered male massagers with vibrating rings moving the fastest on our platform. Our largest individual markets are the metros, which we attribute to audiences that have more exposure to this category and are a bit more accepting of it.

How is the competitive and regulatory environment in this space?

This is an exciting space to be in, but it is not for those who want to see overnight returns. TTK Healthcare has been in this space since the 1950s, and we are in this for the long run. We see competitors as collaborators and together we will build the category. As of this moment, we compete for the same small set of consumers open to this category, however the attempt is to take on the role of building the category in India. The regulatory environment is a bit challenging, with misconceptions and misinterpretations by many people across the board—authorities, media, ad platforms, and even consumers.

What is the potential of this category?

We are seeing a huge surge in demand for pleasure products, due to high category acceptance amongst Millennial and GenZ consumers. This is a dream for any under-penetrated category, and this could lead to a high double-digit CAGR being registered by the sector, in the times to come. While the consumer story looks promising, there are multiple challenges, making it one of the most difficult categories to build.

Can you elaborate on the challenges you face?  

There is a lack of basic awareness among consumers—the sector has been largely dominated by protection and supplements, with a lack of knowledge about products beyond those.

Even today, conversations about this category are shrouded in taboos and hesitation, which also lead to low coverage in the mainstream media. Then, the policies are vague and are not uniformly or consistently applied. There is a large amount of subjectivity here and it is something that the entire category is grappling with.

Then, how do you manage to promote Love Depot?

By exploring non-traditional ways… Content creators or influencers have not just championed the cause of selfcare and highlighted the key role pleasure products play but have also led to influencing a lot of mainstream conversations about the category, helping us promote our products. They are instrumental in educating consumers.

At Love Depot, we try to make it simple and relatable for consumers, where the entire Love Depot experience—be it our website, the advertising communication, or the media we select—is far from the stereotypes this category has been boxed by.

How do you leverage digital technologies?
Being a D2C business, data analytics is a key point we have focused on. We are working with a few good partners in this space who have helped us build a robust backend that helps us in the decision-making. Even for logistics, we are working with some of the best names in the business, with cutting-edge technology.
At the front end, we focus on providing a seamless user experience through our e-commerce platform, which is built on the latest tools. We also engage with our customers through social media and leverage digital marketing and automation tools to target and retain our audiences effectively.

What is your marketing strategy?

Our focus is to normalize the pursuit of pleasure and pleasure products. Our communication is not cringy or overly explicit. We need to let people know that it is okay to want to experience pleasure. That will not happen if we shock their sensibilities with every piece of content.
Education goes a long way in normalizing this category and we have a lot of initiatives planned in this space.

Our marketing strategy focuses on a mix of digital channels to maximize reach and engagement. We allocate a significant portion of our budget to online advertising, including social media campaigns, influencer partnerships, and search engine marketing. We also pay a lot of attention to customer retention, ensuring we maintain strong relationships with our existing customer base. Our approach is data-driven, allowing us to optimize our campaigns and maximize return on investment continuously.

You said you wanted to grow the market. What are your plans in this regard?

Normalization and education are key to growing the market, so this will continue to be our mainstay. Apart from that, our data-driven decision-making helps us ensure that we offer a fabulous product assortment at the right price point, giving consumers the knowledge of what is available in this category.

This kind of exposure leads people to learn more, know more, and seek more. We have also managed to arrange a few custom orders for customers who wanted a specific super-premium product, which we otherwise would not have brought to India given the price point.

Any plans to go omnichannel?

It is something we are discussing. Of course, it needs a lot of thought, planning, and investment. With the regulatory ambiguity, this is not a decision we can take lightly.

Any interesting consumption trends you would like to share?

Bengaluru has proven that it is really the holistic tech capital of India, that’s where we sell the most tech-advanced products. Also, more men are buying couple-focused products, telling us that all old stereotypes of men not being concerned about their partners’ pleasure are changing. Men are certainly all for spicing up their love life with their partners.

 

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