Sex sells, defying economic slowdown

January 19th, 2009 - 10:21 am ICT by IANS  

Amsterdam, Jan 19 (DPA) Despite an economic slowdown and a credit crisis, Dutch sex shops and businesses offering erotic services appear to be doing just fine.Phone inquiries among several leading sex shops and erotic business owners in Amsterdam indicate the erotic sector is relatively stable.

“Sales are going well,” says Madeleine Vreekamp of Mail&Female, located in Amsterdam.

The store, which is not located in the red light district and, therefore, caters predominantly to Dutch customers, says its erotic products are known for their top quality.

“Our turnover is still increasing steadily,” says Vreekamp. “In times of economic crisis, consumers focus on quality rather than on quantity.”

Vreekamp added that her business would launch next month a new online service - the details of which remain undisclosed - that is expected to increase sales even further. The company is also considering opening a new store elsewhere.

Spokesperson Mario van der Stelt of Cobeco Pharma, which distributes erotic products to sex shops, says it saw unprecedented 12 percent growth during the last two months of 2008.

“So far, our January sales - usually a bad month for our industry - are also going incredibly well,” says Van der Stelt.

Cobeco is known for relatively cheap and simple erotic merchandise, such as lubricants and food supplements to boost one’s libido.

“We think that in times of economic crisis, sex becomes a popular pastime because it’s basically free of charge,” says Van der Stelt.

Van der Stelt referred to a British survey, YouGov, performed among 2,000 British adults in December. According to the survey, sex was found to be the most popular low-cost activity of adult British citizens.

Danny Linden of the Absolute Danny erotic store in Amsterdam also says business is stable.

“Some 60 percent of our customers are foreigners. They come mostly from Britain, Germany, the US and Dubai.

“We serve the top segment of the erotic market and the economic recession is, apparently, not yet felt by these people.”

Bad publicity about the Amsterdam red light district in global media has affected the local sex industry more, says Linden.

Ever since September 2007, Amsterdam authorities have closed down brothels and sex businesses in an attempt to reduce sex-industry related crime, such as money laundering and trafficking of women.

“In the last two years, global media outlets have published many stories about presumed problems in the red light district, and about the area being cleaned up by the authorities. Our business has been located in the red light district for 11 years,” said Linden.

“I have never experienced any of the negative things so often printed in global media. I feel very safe over here, and I also think it’s very clean,” she said.

“And while some brothels have been closed, the truth is that the red light district is flourishing,” Linden added. “Nevertheless, ever since the negative publicity began, we have received calls from international clients from as far as India, to check if we still exist before they come here.”

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