Physical Toys Trending Up…
A few points in this Blog post may seem counter intuitive, but bear with me, because there are big momentum shifts afoot.
For decades there has been a shifting from physical play to digital play, from real tangible objects as playthings to the ethereal.
And the funny thing is that Toy companies were right at the heart of the start of the digital play phenomenon, but what happened then was that the massive R&D costs, and very different business model and culture of Video Games, left the Toy industry as a whole floundering somewhat.
Now in the meantime, Toy companies have hardly been quiet, the industry has embraced the Entertainment industry, as well as utilising low end consumer electronics well in play.
However, the big shift I am seeing is the accessibility of many widespread and much loved consumer technologies increasing drastically. We’ve moved from expensive software to $1-2 Apps, from expensive hardware bespoke to Gaming towards multi faceted devices which can do so much more than just one thing. And best of all, we’ve moved to a model where Toy companies can again compete on the tech playing field.
Now don’t get me wrong, Skylanders proves that Toy companies still have threats from within the Video industry, especially as boxed Video Games sales nosedive. As I’ve written before, I don’t see Toy companies replicating the Skylanders model with it’s comparatively massive R&D spend…BUT there are many other top selling Toys with significantly less barriers to entry.
We’ve seen Tablet technology deliver top selling Toys, even Toys R Us are launching one now.
But there are thousands of low priced technologies out there just queuing up to come to market in a Toy format. As ever, it’s just a case of sifting through the crap to find the real winners, and of course of delivering fanatstic Toys. The focus must always be on enhancing the play experience, but as long as Toy companies follow that, it seems to me that the future of the toy industry is looking brighter.
And when we finally get through these tough economic times, I predict a golden age for the Global Toy trade!
All the best
P.S. Have you checked out our new Toy Marketing website? The articles on this site are specifically about Marketing of Toys: www.toymarketingacademy.com