Set up in the early 2000s with a mission to take the sleaze out of the purchase of sex toys, Lovehoney is a pureplay with aspirations to be “the world’s biggest supplier of sexual happiness”.

The etailer has been growing rapidly, driven by a big push on international development, including localised sites and distribution centres in key markets. International expansion ramped up after Swiss private equity firm Telemos Capital took a majority stake in the business in 2018. Indeed, Lovehoney replatformed onto Salesforce with Amplience content integration from the end of 2020 to enhance the customer experience, especially on mobile, and facilitate the development of additional localised sites. It now has dedicated websites for the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France and Germany and has also begun opening overseas fulfilment centres. 

Lovehoney is currently headed up by chief commercial officer Debbie Bond following the departure of chief executive Sarah Warby towards the end of 2020. Warby had taken the helm after founders Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford stepped down from the day-to-day running of the business following the acquisition by Telemos.

Total sales rocketed 79.5% to £222.1m in the year to end-March 2021 (FY2020), including a 108.2% surge in international sales, with profitability strengthening.  

In August 2021, Lovehoney announced plans to merge with WOW Tech Group, a world leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of premium intimate pleasure products. WOW Tech was established in 2018 with the coming together of German-based Womanizer Group and Canada’s Standard Innovation Corporation. The enlarged business will trade as Lovehoney Group and will also include Amorana, the Swiss sexual wellbeing online retailer acquired by Lovehoney in September 2020.

Following the merger, Telemos will retain a majority investment in the group, with Slateford, Longhurst and Johannes Plettenburg (CEO of the new group) retaining minority stakes.

Innovation rating: 2.5

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