A month doesn’t go by before a new toy fad crops up, and with the latest fidget craze taking over, Jade Burke asks the ToyShop UK listing what makes a toy stand the test of time.
Yo-yos, Moshi Monsters and the cuddly Furby have all caused a frenzy among children in the playground, with kids clawing at one another to get their hands on the latest toy craze. And now the latest trend, fidget toys, from Spinners to Cubes, have madea massive impact on children’s lives, while also lining the pockets of many retailers.
Known to help relax children and adults with learning difficulties such as ADHD, sensory toys have proved to be one of the most popular items of late, with many retailers struggling to keep up with demand as stock fell short.
“The latest craze is great providing you could get stock. The spinners were fantastic as there was demand and stock was available provided you knew where to get it,” Duke Miller of Dalscone Toys, tells ToyNews.
While fidget toys have taken centre stage over the past few months, surely the next toy fad is only around the corner?
With toy manufacturers constantly competing to launch the next big thing, it’s no wonder toy crazes die out after a few months, but will 2017's fidget toys succumb to this? Just Williams Toys’ owner, Vicky Brown, believes this to be true.
“Crazes will always be short lived despite what toy companies do, as there is always another product around the corner ready to take its place,” Brown adds.
“Toys have become such consumable items that children also get bored and move on to the next craze.”
Innovation is key to the toy sector, which leads to the introduction of new toys daily. For example, the simple Spinners first sprung up during May, however there is now a raft of options on the market, from Bluetooth-enabled variants to advanced light-up LED Spinners.
This development is surely key to ensuring a new toy stands the test of time rather than resulting in a fad? Models R Go owner, John Guiver, concurs: “Existing products can be 'tweaked' with new features to extend their shelf appeal, for example Spinners with lights and sound or a glow-in- the-dark spinner.”
Despite this, retailers remain cynical that tweaks can help a toy stick around, citing the impact of online and discounting causing a toy to lose its shelf life.
“Brands like Marvel, Star Wars and Transformers are killed by discounting in big box stores before the lines even hit,” explains Matt Booker, owner of Automattic Comics and Toys.
Darths Hutt’s Mitch Brown, agrees: “Toy companies will make a quick buck and once sales decline they will disappear off of the shelf. Fidget Spinners come at price ranges and companies are putting licensed images on them for a few extra pennies, but they do exactly the same thing as a cheaper spinner without Spider-Man on it.”
Of course, the customer is key to prolonging a toy craze, and with more and more children sharing their fidget toys, there is no doubt that this latest toy fad may be here to stay for many more months.
Without the support of the consumer, new launches can struggle to find their feet in such a saturated market, as Bill Deakin, owner of Silly Billy's Toy Shop, suggests: “Toy firms can do as much as they can and spend as much money on marketing as they have, though without the public being interested the bottom will fall out of the sales.”
As soon as a new toy hits the market, manufacturers are tasked with meeting stock demands and distribution costs that undoubtedly contribute to the downfall of many fads. But will this be the case for the latest craze storming the market?
“Despite different fidget toys being released at a very fast rate, we still predict an end to large fidget sales by close of school holidays," added Bill Deakin of Silly Billy's Toy Shop.