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21.09.2018 // Toy market India: demand for quality brands & STEM toys

In 2016, traditional toys and games in India grew by 6% and further growth is expected. The organized players are facing stiff competition from the unbranded Chinese imports which are being sold at cheaper price and thereby affecting growth. However, with more awareness of quality branded products, more promotions and new launches, the demand is slowly increasing for these brands.

In terms of buying behavior for traditional toys, there is a gradual shift towards educational toys and arts and crafts as educated parents are focusing on education through entertainment. This has resulted in the increase in the demand for STEM toys.

Pre-school and construction continued to be the fastest growing categories with value growth of 20% in 2016. Due to extensive promotional campaigns and increasing awareness in urban areas, Lego remained the top-selling brand in construction.

In terms of seasonality of traditional toys, sales remain high during the months of May and June when most of the schools are closed. It is during this period that parents take their children out and buy new toys for them to play with during the summer vacation.

In India, expensive tech toys such as drones and robots remain very niche due to the high pricing and laws and regulations on their use. In India, flying a drone comes with legal proceedings as it is compulsory for the user to obtain prior permission from the authorities to fly it. In addition, the import of drones is banned in India, limiting international manufacturers from carrying out operations in India. 

Distribution of toys and games in India by formatDistribution of toys and games in India by format

Competitive landscape

Due to the increasing awareness of branded products and the growing popularity of action figures and cartoon characters, the demand for international brands is on the rise. International licensing of toys is an important factor in the toys industry. This has led to the increasing number of international licensed products in the country. As of 2016, 6% of traditional toys and games sales were through licensed products, although the figure can reach as high as 50% in some categories, such as action figures and accessories.

All leading toys and games specialist retailers, such as Funskool India Ltd, Reliance Retail Ltd and Simba Toys India Ltd, were expanding their presence by opening more physical stores and also by listing their products in leading e-commerce websites like amazon.in and flipkart.com. Many manufacturers are also tying up with different movies to increase the sales. For instance, Simba has taken the license for Bahubali 2 whereby they launched weapons such as swords prior to the release of the movie.

The traditional toys category is expected to grow  further but it continues to be impacted by the rising number of imports from China. Many of these imports are illegal and are sold through unorganized retail at cheaper prices, thereby affecting the growth.

Small and medium toy manufacturers are struggling to survive in the industry due to the high import duty levied on the raw materials used in the manufacturing of toys. The import duty on raw materials is as high as 20%-30% compared with 5% for the import of a finished toy. As a result, finished toy imports are increasing from countries such as China, the US, and the UK, which negatively affects the growth of the local players.

Top 5 toy companies in India; market shares in %Top 5 toy companies in India; market shares in %

Licensing

The influence of the media has been playing a key role in the licensing of toys. Toy manufacturers have been benefitting from the success of shows, such as Motu Patlu, Chota Bheem and Shivay, which have been extremely popular amongst children. In addition, with the digitalization in place, children have been using different media devices such as tablets and mobile devices to watch their favorite shows and movies which has been some of the leading licensing brands.

Licensing of toys increased and this trend is expected to continue. Categories such as action figures and accessories, dolls and accessories and games and puzzles have been the major categories which generate sales in the licensing segment. Also, categories such as plush and model vehicles are expected to increase their share in the licensing space with manufacturers licensing the characters of Hollywood movies and characters.

Licensing remains a challenge for toys and games in India as counterfeit versions were widely available. Many counterfeit products from China are being imported and sold in India through e-commerce websites at a discounted rate. Despite trying to create awareness through social media and other media platforms, a lack of stringent laws is creating a hindrance to restricting the flow of counterfeit toys.


14.09.2018 // September 2018 - interesting toy events at a glance

These dates in the toy industry you should remember in September 2018!

05.09.2018 LIMA European Sports Licensing Roundtable - Germany
05.09.2018 NY Fall Networking Event: VR World - New York, United States
05.09.2018 - 06.09.2018 New Grading and New Checklist Introduction - Dongguan, China
09.09.2018 Children's Day - Costa Rica
10.09.2018 Children's Day - Honduras
11.09.2018 The UK Licensing Awards - London, United Kingdom
14.09.2018 Children's Day - Nepal
15.09.2018 - 16.09.2018 Certified Play Expert - Omaha, United States
20.09.2018 Children's Day - Austria, Germany
20.09.2018 -21.09.2018 New Grading and New Checklist Introduction - Shenzhen, China
25.09.2018 Children's Day - Netherlands
25.09.2018 - 26.09.2018 Expo Licencias y Marcas Show 2018 - Mexico

10.09.2018 // Customisation the future of toys or a perpetual niche?

Many trend analysts thought customisation via mass adoption of the internet would become a massive future trend. The hype cedes ground. Today, the toy industry racks its brain if 3d printing supersedes the internet mass adoption.

First steps: mass adoption of the internet
Way back at the start of the noughties Hasbro offered customised Monopoly board games via the internet. With My Monopoly you could write in customised street names online, order via the website and then receive a customised Monopoly board game delivered to your home. This seems very straightforward today, but back then in the infancy of mass adoption of the internet this was seriously cutting edge – it was at the time a very complicated project and the web development aspect was new to everyone involved.

Many trend analysts thought this would be a massive future trend, of consumers having things created bespoke to exactly the way they wanted, all via the ground-breaking facilitation of the internet. Clearly there were considerations back then that this could be a whole new paradigm in consumer products, and if you had done a SWOT analysis back then, you may have added customisation of consumer products as a major threat to the existing way of getting mass market consumer products to market.

Fast forward to today, and it doesn’t look like the customisation trend has truly had much of a cannibalisation effect on mass market toys at all. For sure the internet overall has revolutionised the way that toys are chosen and purchased by consumers – with online retail, social media and unboxing videos becoming equally as important as the traditional distribution channels and marketing platforms. But customisation doesn’t seem to be the ‘category killer’ it has occasionally been feared to be by over paranoid toy marketers.

Next chapter: 3d printing customisation
One of the major potential disruptors that have come to the fore in the last few years is 3d printing. A few years ago, this nascent but impressive technology had many people in the toy business worried, as the conceptual offer of customisable toys created via an online interface but printed off in the consumers home could have been a major threat to the existing toy business.

However, 3d printing has yet to have any noticeable effect at all on the global toy market. (Non 3d printed) toy sales are increasing globally, with no evidence of any substantial cannibalisation. So what happened? Where did this threat go, and why haven’t consumers flocked to 3d printing to create these fully customised toys? I believe there are several reasons why 3d printed toys have not been mass adopted thus far, and why they are not likely to be a major threat in reality, at least not for some time:

Efficiency of 3d printers
Even now, a few years after the introduction of commercially available 3d printers, if you speak to anyone who uses a 3d printer, it is a far from perfect process. Frankly put, 3d printers are not yet easy or efficient enough.

Hardware cost
The cost of buying the printer will put many consumers off. In summer 2018 the cheapest 3d printer available in a couple of mass market retailers in the UK market – the price of the cheapest items (on clearance offers) was around €150, with some above €800. This is not a viable mass market offer for what remains at this point a gimmick!

Ease of purchase toys at low price points
Consumers now tend to see toys as more of a ‘throwaway’ gift purchase than ever before. Toys are comparatively cheap, so why would I invest € 150+ in a hardware item to produce toys?

Missing consumer benefit
What is the actual consumer benefit of customising your own 3d toys? Having conducted more than 1,200 focus groups with kids and families on toys in general, there is not any gap in consumer needs and wants that such customisation actually fills. At best this looks like a fun gimmick to consumers, but then why would I want to buy expensive hardware, deal with mind numbing software and hardware set up and have to buy consumable (i.e. plastic) replacements?

Individual customisation remains a niche
The reality is that customisation is inevitably a niche, because it is about very specific personalised wants. This is not to say there is no business in 3d printing or in customisation overall – far from it, there are many very successful and profitable businesses in their own niche spaces, but they are definitely niche. As such, it is hard to argue that customisation is any more likely to become the category killer we once worried about with 3d printing than it was with the advent of mass adoption of the internet.

Crowd funding promotes collective customisation
The only caveat on customisation is crowd funding. Crowd funding is in effect a grouping together of people supporting the same thing. This product or activity they support can be very niche, but in effect as a group they can influence and therefore collectively customise the product. This has the potential to be far more impactful and disruptive than personal customisation, because in this way consumers become the ultimate arbiter of whether something will sell enough and in what volume versus the old model of manufacturers and retailers deciding what would end up on shelf for consumers to choose from.

03.09.2018 // Ukraine celebrates Knowledge Day!

Children and their parents across the country celebrate Knowledge Day, followed by the First Bell Day for first-graders and the first school day in schools, universities and other educational institutions.

On this day, traditionally in schools people arrange solemn lines, concerts, other events.

The universities also celebrate this day solemnly. They hold concerts, invite famous graduates, state, and public figures and so on. Freshmen in many educational institutions undergo the so-called initiation rite.

The Day of Knowledge is widespread in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in many European countries, for example, it is not celebrated at all.

30.08.2018 // Eco-friendly toys will play key role in educational sector's 11 per cent growth over next four years

Technavio projects an 11 per cent growth in educational toys market over the next four years, and green toys will be playing a key part in the growth.

A rise in sustainable, eco-friendly friendly toys is expected to help drive the educational toys industry to its projected 11 per cent growth over the next four years.

According to the market analysts, Technavio, the global educational toys market is expected to post a CAGR of more than 11 per cent during the forecast period of 2018 to 2022.

Smart toys are tipped to be the biggest driver in the market growth, alongside the increased consideration that parents, educators and vendors are taking surrounding the topic of sustainability.

According to Technavio, manufacturers are increasingly opting for sustainable product development in a trending lean towards the products that cause less harm to the environment.

Companies such as 4M have already started offering eco-friendly educational toys, including recycled Paper Beads Kits and 4M Eco Science Toys.

"Due to the steady growth in the global eco-friendly educational toys market, several start-ups are increasingly entering the global educational toys market," said a senior analyst at Technavio.

"Luke’s Toy Factory is another start-up that offers eco-friendly educational toys.

These advances in green toys will most likely drive the market during the forecast period." This week, LEGO starting upping the ante on sustainability with the launch of its new plant-shaped bricks built from sugarcane plastic. The Danish toy giant detailed the move earlier this year, announcing the reformulated, eco-friendly building blocks were set to hit shelves.

LEGO plans to roll out the bricks across most products by 2030 as part of efforts to overhaul its manufacturing processes to prioritise plant-based materials and recycled sources.

27.08.2018 // Age-Appropriate Toys for Kids

Looking to buy new toys for the kids? It is important to buy age-appropriate toys for kids throughout their lifespan. Children learn new skills and show different interests during different stages of development. Finding an age-appropriate toy means to find a toy that is a good match for their age, interest and the skills they are learning. It is also important for safety when children are young, so they are not exposed to toys that are to small and could result in a choking hazard. Here's a guide to picking the right age-appropriate toys for kids, depending on the child's age.

Appropriate Baby Toys for Newborns Through 6 Months.
Baby toys at this stage will stimulate the senses, particularly the senses of sight, sound and touch. Baby toys are colorful, textured, easy to hold, and often make noises. Rattles, bouncer seats, playmats, teethers, soft toys, and sleep toys are some of the best age-appropriate toys for babies.

Appropriate Baby Toys for Ages 6-12 Months
A baby in the 6-12 month age range is engaging more through laughing, babbling, sitting, rolling, crawling, pulling to stand at furniture, and maybe very close to taking their first steps! Age appropriate toys for babies at this age include cause and effect toys, which are often battery operated toys that play music or complete fun actions with the push of a button. Babies at this age also start dump and fill play, putting large toys in and out of containers.

Toys for Toddlers Ages 1 to 3 Years
Toddlers at this stage are full of energy, eager to explore everything around them. They love all kinds of physical activities like pulling, pushing, lugging, knocking down, emptying and filling. Toddlers are curious, and enjoy touching and investigating everything they see. It's a wonderful age to learn, explore and discover. Age appropriate toys for toddlers are musical toys, outdoor toys, ride-on toys and simple construction toys like building blocks and puzzles.

Age-Appropriate Toys for Preschoolers Ages 3 to 5 Years
Preschoolers love toys that stimulate the imagination and offer a challenge. Innovative use of technology in toys has ensured hours of fun for this age group. Age appropriate toys for preschoolers include a wide range of choices like simple board games, bikes, arts and crafts activities, construction toys, educational tablets, and pretend play sets that feature their favorite television characters.

The Best Toys for Kids Ages 5-8
Kids in their early elementary school age years are very curious, want to explore, invent, create and conquer. The holidays are magical. Age appropriate toys for elementary school age kids allow them to use their imagination, but many still enjoy dolls, superhero action figures, tablets and board games.

Tween Toys for Ages 9 to 12
Children grow up so fast, don't they! Age appropriate toys for kids 9 to 12 allow children to demonstrate their personality. Kids love playing fast-paced games, learning to play musical instruments, are efficient at using tablets, like listening to music and playing silly party games. STEM toys and games that allow children to use complicated problem solving skills to build robots are also popular.

Toys for Teens Ages 13 and Over
Teens often prefer electronic toys like mobile phones, tablets, and video games, but there are many other hot, new toys that appeal to them, too. It is popular for teens to want to ride electric scooters, sing karaoke with their friends, fly drones, construct LEGO sets, collect movie memorabilia, code robots to follow their every command and engage in active NERF blaster games with their friends and family!

15.08.2018 // Global toy sales grow 4 per cent to hit $18.4bn in first half of 2018

The NPD Group now forecasts the global toy market to reach $99 billion by 2022 as collectables, gaming and social media reign supreme.

Global toy sales have risen four per cent to reach $18.4 billion in the first half of 2018, according to the latest insight from The NPD Group.

The increase has been witnessed across the 13 international markets tracked by the global information company, in which Mexico grew the fastest, up 15 per cent, followed by Brazil that posted an 11 per cent growth.

The US market has seen a seven per cent growth while Europe posted a on per cent decline as growth in Russia, Germany, Italy and Spain was offset by slight declines in other regions.

Collectables and social media has been cited as leading trends in the growing global market within the first six months of the year. These are expected to accelerate over the course of the remaining year.

"More than entertainment, brands have been an important trend to move the needle for the industry so far this year," said Frederique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at The NPD Group.

"Some key themes have also emerged or have been increasing in popularity, such as dinosaurs and unicorns on the one hand, and slime or toilet humour on the other."

LOL Surprise has been highlighted as a trailblazer in the collectables market, ranking as the number one toy property in all 13 countries combined. Globally, sales of collectables increased by 26 per cent and now account for 1 per cent of dollar sales in the total toy industry.

Led by Fingerlings, the youth electronics segment grew by 29 per cent and sales of miscellaneous toys grew by 12 per cent, with major drivers being Soft n Slow Squishies, Major League Baseball cards and Panini Russia 2018 World Cup stickers.

Tying into the kidult trend the games segment grew by 12 per cent with Monopoly, UNO and Exploding Kittens among the contributors to its success.

According to NPD, the global toy industry has been growing steadily since 2012, as well as the global spend per child. North America remains the largest region driven by the US, while Asia is the strongest growth prospect, having grown by 21 per cent in the last five years.

The NPD Group now forecasts the global toy market to reach $99 billion by 2022.

"As domestic markets become more and more mature, manufacturers and retailers are looking at new territories to find growth," said Tutt.


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09.08.2018 // A Toy Safety Checklist for Parents


How do you know if your child's toys are safe?
This toy safety checklist will help parents and gift givers keep in mind important safety tips when it comes to buying toys for their children to play with.

Toys are fun. Many offer opportunities for learning. Sometimes to save money we might buy used toys. Relatives might have bins of old toys in their home that they keep for young children to play with. There are a lot of hidden hazards concerning toys, that as parents we might not realize. It is important to be aware of what children are playing with and beware of potential dangerous situations.

First Find The Recommended Age

Always make sure the toy or game is right for your child's age, especially if your child is under the age of 3. All new toys will have a recommended age or age range listed on the box or packaging.

Warning Labels Must Be Read and Followed

Please make sure that you read and follow all warning labels associated with the toy you are buying. = Rectangular boxes with pictures alert adults to warnings.

There are warning labels for small toys for kids under 3. There are also warnings where toys might make children at risk for falling, where toys might contain magnets or sharp edges.

Check For Sharp Edges and Points

Check all toys for sharp and pointed edges. This is especially important for younger children, since they have a tendency to put things into their mouths or into their eyes. There is always a danger of falling on top of the toy while playing, which also may cause injury if an older brother or sister does not put the toy away.

Check if the Toy Has Cords or Strings Attached

If the toy you are planning to buy has cords or strings attached to it, please be careful that it does not have a long cord. There is always a danger of the cord getting entangled into a loop which could wrap around the child's neck and strangle them, not allowing them to breathe. Older, antique toys definitely have cords that are long.

Avoid Toys With Small Parts

Never buy a toy which has small or loose parts that can come unattached and give it to a child under the ages of 3 to play with. Younger kids have a tendency to swallow things, which can pose a danger. Also check if the toy or stuffed animal has loose parts like eyes, noses which can be pulled off and placed in a child's mouth.

Make Sure the Toy is Sturdy and Strong

It is important to check to see if the toy you are buying is sturdy and built of strong shatter proof material. In case of any falls or accidents, the toy should not break into pieces with sharp edges as this can cause bodily injury to the child.

Is the Toy Loud?

In case the toy you are buying has sound, check to make sure the noise levels are not to loud. Many toys now have volume control and an off-button. Toys that are really loud could permanently damage the sensitive hearing of children.
Make Sure the Toy is Non Toxic
If you are buying toys like crayons, art supplies, toys with liquids or sensory activities, make sure that the toys do not contain toxic chemicals. You can check the labels to make sure they are safe in case of accidental ingestion.

Does Your Child Have Food Allergies?

Many kids like to bake with a tabletop cooking oven to make cookies and other sweet treats. If your child has food allergies, check the ingredients lists on any baking toys.

Does The Toy Have Magnets?

Newer magnetic toys are fun and safe. These toys now have magnets safely encased in plastic. However, you should be mindful of toys with magnets in case parts become lose because they are very dangerous if swallowed.

Make Sure That the Toy is Not Recalled

You can check on the internet on various sites provided by the government like Consumer Product Safety Commission where you can find more toy safety information and check the list to see if any of the toys that you have bought have been on any toy recall lists.

02.08.2018 // What is a STEM Toy?


STEM toys fall into one (or more) or four categories.They are:
Science
Technology
Engineering
Math

Basically, any toy that teaches or fosters one of these subjects can be classified as a STEM toy.

Many parents and teachers like to use STEM toys to reinforce important learning traits in a fun way. When children are having fun, they usually dont even realize they are learning!
What is a STEM Toy?
Lets take a look at a further breakdown of the STEM category and example products in each section.

Science Toys

Anything that deals with teaching weather, space, dinosaurs, or any other science concept falls into this category. Many children love science kits and chemistry sets, and parents love that they are learning great concepts while they play.

Technology Toys
Even if you found this page by wondering, "What is a stem toy," you no doubt have seen the emergence of tech toys for kids. Tablets, watches, robots, and other devices are all over the place. My older son has had an iPad since 5, and the 3-year-old just got my old one for learning apps. With technology becoming essential in the world, its important your children are exposed to these STEM toys.

Engineering Toys
These are your construction sets and building toys. Perhaps some of the most popular STEM toys in this category are LEGOs. There are so many ways to use your imagination and skills to build with those blocks! Knex and Magformer are two other examples of toys here.

Math Toys
This is probably the category of STEM toys with the most overlap. For example, LEGOs can be considered math toys if used in counting, addition, or subtraction lessons. There are many other toys that deal with numbers to reinforce math skills. This category would also include your play cash registers or number games.

The Benefits of STEM Toys With children having so much access to screens and devices these days, its important that STEM toys be introduced as an alternative. Kids can still have fun but they will be learning at the same time.

Additionally, a lot of great skills and traits are built when playing with the best STEM toys.

These include: Problem Solving Cognitive Development Engagement Overcoming Challenges Teamwork Cooperation Patience

So, take a look through our site to find more ideas and suggestions for your children!

24.07.2018 // Spielwarenmesse begins search for 2019's biggest toy trends

In its mission to keep retailers’ business buoyant, the main trends will be revealed from mid-October this year before being showcased in the TrendGallery at the Spielwarenmesse from January 30 to February 3.

The Spielwarenmesse has commissioned the international TrendCommittee to deep dive into the industry and pluck the latest trends for next year’s show.

In its mission to keep retailers’ business buoyant, the main trends will be revealed from mid-October this year before being showcased in the TrendGallery at the Spielwarenmesse from January 30 to February 3.

The Spielwaremesse’s TrendCommittee is composed of 11 interdisciplinary toy experts: market researchers, trend scouts and journalists who track market trends around the world, from the US and Europe, across to China.

Axel Dammler, market researcher inconkids and youth international research, said: “trends are really important especially for toys. Toys can be incredibly inclusive and help children and teenagers bond, particularly when several members of a group own the same toy.

“In addition, toys will often merge that are based on a similar theme, giving rise to an overriding trend.”

The focus this year is on medium-term industry trends that are starting to make their mark and look set to influence the toy industry in the near future. Their international appeal is an important factor.

Christian Ulrich, director of marketing at Speilwarenmesse, explained: “Our trends have international viability and are not limited to any one country.”

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