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'Sex map' reveals erotic-spending trends by city

Work & Lifestyle

UK consumers spend some GBP 315 million on sex products each year, according to retailer LoveHoney, but not all towns spend equally. Thanks to LoveHoney’s new UK Sex Map, it’s now plain for all to see which areas invest the most in their erotic lives. In creating its map-based tool, LoveHoney began by taking an anonymous sample of more than 500,000 orders placed at its online store. It then aggregated that data into regions that match population statistics from the UK Census and added in data representing sales from other retailers and manufacturers. The result is the UK Sex Map, which shows annual per-capita spending on sex products for towns with populations of 10,000 people or more. The map is updated monthly, and all data are anonymised and aggregated, so no personally identifiable information can be seen. Instead, heat-map colours reveal a town’s spending habits at a glance, with green representing areas that spend about the same as the national average, dark blue indicating those that spend a lot less, and red and white flagging hot points. Also visible, meanwhile, are the particular types of items the various towns are spending on—vibrators or condoms, for example—with links for quick purchase on LoveHoney’s site. Users can scroll through the map for browsing purposes, or they can search by town name or postal code; included on the map, not surprisingly, are also sex-related establishments in each town. LoveHoney invites proprietors of such places to list their businesses for inclusion on the map, while users themselves can make their own recommendations. Customer involvement appears to be an ongoing strategy at LoveHoney—it’s also in the midst of a contest to design a new sex toy—but its sex map promises to directly increase sales as well, both its own and those of listed businesses. It’s all thanks to today’s sophisticated and cheap (if not free) online mapping tools and databases, which make it easier than ever to display information in map format. Time to see what maps could do for *your* bottom line! 😉 (Related: Nightlife mapping tool uses GPS to reveal hotspotsCrowds create heat maps of hot gigs at music fest.) Spotted by: Judy McRae



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