Jobs boom at Lovehoney as global lockdowns trigger big rise in sales of its pleasure products

February 19, 2021

A surge in sales of sex toys during the pandemic has resulted in retailer Lovehoney taking on an additional 70 staff at its Bath headquarters.

The firm – which was launched, appropriately, from a bedroom in the city in 2002 – has enjoyed a whopping 200% sales boost in many of its overseas markets since Covid-19 restrictions in its key markets forced people to spend more time at home. 

Lovehoney’s jobs boom, which takes total staffing at its Locksbrook Road head office and warehouse to 340, came as it launched bespoke websites for the US, Australian, French and German markets.

It also firmed up its position as Europe’s largest manufacturer and online retailer of pleasure products last September by snapping up smaller Swiss rival Amorana.

Lovehoney’s hefty sales increase during the pandemic follows a more modest 19% growth in the year to last March. However, that was sufficient to earn the firm a place on the Sunday Times’ prestigious list of the UK’s fastest-growing exporters.

The £56.3m export sales total ranked the firm 194th in the 12th annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200.

The table, published in the newspaper this Sunday, ranks the UK’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

Lovehoney said it had benefitted from the popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey series of erotic novels – for which it holds the licence for all official pleasure products and which celebrates its 10th birthday this year. 

The firm began to target its sex toys, lingerie, erotic gifts and other adult products at international markets around eight years ago, first in the US and Australia and then in Europe.

Five years ago its success in spicing up the love lives of people across the world led to it becoming possibly the most unusual winner of a Queen’s Award for International Trade.

The firm’s total sales in the year to March 2020 were £124.3m, meaning with its strong growth in export markets around half its revenues are now earned overseas.

Lovehoney is one of seven South West companies in the special Covid-19 edition of the league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

Among the other firms from the South West are, at number 172, Bruton, Somerset-based Redlynch Agricultural Engineering, which sells combine harvesters, seed planters and tractors to trade customers. Its overseas sales climbed by 23% to £1.3m. 

Lovehoney appears alongside other well-known British brands such as Sweaty Betty, the women’s activewear brand that sells to 195 countries, BrewDog, which was valued at £1bn in 2017 and now has 100 bars worldwide, and Brompton, the bicycle manufacturer, which ships to 47 markets.

International Track 200 alumni include Skyscanner, Fever-Tree and Dr Martens – which featured on the league table in 2013 with exports of £100m, and floated last month valued at £3.7bn.

The league table programme is sponsored by HSBC and DHL Express, and compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

HSBC UK head of commercial banking Amanda Murphy said: “After a challenging start to 2021, all eyes are on the companies that will drive a return to growth in 2021.

“We are confident that the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of businesses such as those in the South West listed on International Track 200 will carry them forward.

“These companies show the strength, ambition and resilience of businesses across the UK and are the sort of businesses we are proud to support every day.”

Lovehoney is one of the firms featured in Bath Unlimited, the campaign launched last autumn and supported by Bath Business News that is promoting the city as a world-class location for dynamic and successful companies and their talented employees. For more information visit


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