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Will 2020 put an end to the trouble in Toyland?

By Lyle Edwards

2019 was a tough year by the toys and games industry standards. Such was the success of the previous 4 years with Frozen, Toy Story, Star Wars, Marvel & MGA's LOL Surprise, that this last year was a bit of damp squib. 

Is this a cause for concern or driven by a changing market & shifts in consumer habits?

The toy industry is facing the same assault on bricks and mortar - from digital, discounters and eComm - that food and beverage businesses have been competing with for years. Additionally kids are watching other children play with toys on Youtube rather than playing with them themselves. Over Christmas, I witnessed my best friends 8-year-old watching grown men on YouTube opening FIFA Ultimate Team packs and enjoying it... it's way beyond my comprehension but apparently this is a common theme, many parents at PIE report that their children are also doing just this.

However, some of the clients we work with have a much brighter outlook! This is due in part to 2020 plans for significantly increasing digital offerings in line with physical product portfolios. Effectively harnessing the e-commerce capabilities of both customers and direct platforms in order to offset Toys R Us hangover damage. What's the next big craze? Who knows! Is it time to invest in robotics and AI to bring the digital world closer to a physical product?

To try and get some answers we'll be in attendance at the Toy Fair 2020 at Olympia London next week. We'll be attempting to understand the current state of play and catching up with some of our awesome clients. Give us a shout if you're there and hopefully next week we'll be reporting back about the next big craze in the industry!

The retailer on Wednesday reported its toy sales were about flat over the 2019 holidays compared with the prior year, though it said it continued to gain market share in toys, based on data from NPD Group. Target shares fell more than 7% on the news, while the report sent Walmart’s stock down more than 1%. Toymaker Hasbro’s shares dropped about 2.5%, while Mattel’s stock tanked more than 6%.

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