Friday, February 18, 2011

Look to Toys & Games for Retailing Trends

Reviewing the approximately 100,000 products on exhibit at their annual trade show, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced what they see as the major trends. Pay attention because these trends hint at what’s likely to be seen in retailing areas other than toys and games.
     That’s because people who purchase toys are also buying lots more. It’s also because children are a future market, with their high potential to remain or become primary customers in five to fifteen years. They’ll bring with them some of their attitudes as they move from kiddy playthings to teen and adult playthings.
     Before this happens, children are still an influence market, giving suggestions to the adults on what to purchase. The chief evidence can be seen in the cereal aisle at any grocery store. But it’s much more than this. Surveys find that about one-third of parents say their kids also actively participate in deciding which automobile the parents should buy.
     Here, then, are toy and game trends to attend to:
  • Nonstop activity. More games were designed around independent simultaneous play. It’s the difference between Scrabble and Bananagrams. Similar trends included multitasking instead of waiting your turn, cooperative play rather than independent play, and game rules that emphasize speed.
  • Internet influence. One strand was the integration of the tangible with the virtual. More toys work with apps, and virtual world games allow for online links. Another strand was the increase in the number and variety of miniature versions of toys and games, reflecting the consumer’s attraction to the portability associated with mobile electronics devices.
  • Economy. The miniature versions also are less expensive than the full-sizes already in the marketplace. A related trend here is tighter profit margins for retailers. Peter Laudin, owner of The Pattycake Doll Company, tells me that merchandise and shipping prices were up dramatically from what he’s seen at past shows for equivalent items.
  • Exercise. It appears that adult consumers are listening to the warnings about childhood obesity and so want items which encourage physical activity. There were more sports, dance, and active role-play products. Still, brain exercise was all the rage, as well. Plenty of the items foster logic and strategic thinking. The TIA is using the term “camouflage learning” to describe the wave of toys and games which have at their core heavyweight mental skill building, but wrap it all in layers of entertainment.
Click below for more:
Employ Purchase Triggers for Children
Educate Children as Consumers
Cultivate Kids as Future Consumers
Provide Portability for Your Shoppers

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