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The Source sees year on year growth in robotics toys as it eyes expansion into the wider toy sector

The gift, gadget, and games retailer The Source Wholsesale is expanding its range of educational and robotic toys following a year in which it saw a year on year growth of the category and having spotted a longevity of the market.

A relative newcomer to the toy sector, The Source Wholesale has told ToyNews that it has been encouraged to pursue the market having seen ‘good year on year growth’ from it over the course of the last 12 months. The company has also detailed it plans to “continue to produce new products throughout the year,” to strengthen its offering in the market.

The Source has been selling Educational Robotics successfully for over ten years now, having seen particular success from new lines including the 14 in 1 Solar Robot Kit, as well as its latest range of sustainability-conscious toy lines tapping into the current environmental zeitgeist.

Stacy Guest, sales director, The Source Wholesale talks to ToyNews about the latest developments with the retailer.

Can you talk us through the current surge in demand for educational and robotic products? What does this demand look like from the perspective of The Source?

It’s an area that’s been a focus here at The Source for quite a while. We have been selling Educational Robotics successfully for over 10 years, and have seen year on year growth for this category. From our experience, unlike many other toy lines, we find that robots have a longevity to them and children just don’t get bored.

We also find that with the range of kits we have on offer, many children will start with a simple kit and work through them until they get to a more complex level of kit.

Many of our kits, such as the popular 14 in 1 Solar Robot Kit, have several models to create and play with in a single pack. What is more, the fact that these do not require batteries is a significant benefit, giving children hours of play value.

Parents and grandparents have always been aware of educational toys, that isn’t new. However, our range is able to create a complete balance between the educational aspect and what is actually just a really fun toy that children will want to play with. That’s what makes the range so great – it covers all bases.

How are you guys now tapping into this surge of demand for toys and products in this sector? 

We have simply continued to build and grow the product range, adding in new styles and more complex robotics that can grow with the child into early teens rather than switching to computer games or mobile devices.

Why do you think this market has become so popular in recent years – what are the key drivers in this sector at the moment?

With technology being present in our lives from an early age, I think people are just so much more informed and aware of the latest innovations out there, and how they can use these to their advantage – such as for educational purposes. Social media has definitely contributed to this trend.

Generally speaking, people are looking at their lifestyles, recycling more, they are more concerned about the food they eat and about what their children are playing with – what this provides for them aside from fun. I also think that we are seeing parents wanting to be more involved in the play aspect, which can be a way of spending more quality time as a family. Our kits are fantastic for this and we hear more and more from consumers that actually ‘building the robot’ is something they can do together.

We’ve seen a major increase in demand for sustainable products and sustainability within the toy space. How are you guys looking to tap into the consumer demand in this regard?

I think as per most major suppliers we have a duty to ensure our products are made in the most sustainable and ethical way, and we are dedicated to continue to develop more products moving away from plastics where possible and looking at alternatives.

What can we expect from the upcoming range from you guys?

New exciting robotics that the whole family will get involved with. More Hydraulics and even some paints included for maximum creativity!

Some of the new products in the ‘Construct and Create’ range include: a solar science kit, which you can build using recycled materials such as cans and plastic bottles; a wearable cyborg hand powered by hydraulics and even a 3-in-1 robot that can be coded using a keypad on the robot’s head.

We’re very excited for the launch of the new range.

What other key trends are you noticing coming through at the moment – have we seen an increased demand for the likes of wellness and mindfulness toys, or retro revival products?  

As you have said really these would be good picks. Not only sustainability-related products but, indeed, products that contribute to wellness and mindfulness are experiencing increased demand. In our case, as mentioned, we’ve seen the creativity and versatility elements play a big role – kits that can be used at different levels of complexity, and that enable parents to be actively involved in the play.

What about your plans specifically – how important is the toy market to The Source? What sort of growth are you guys looking at in this regard?

We are still relatively new in the toy sector but have seen good year on year growth from it and plan to continue that trend. We also launched our SOhi range this year – a fun, quirky and colourful range of water and outdoor products, which we see as a key range both in the UK and internationally. We will continue to produce new products throughout the year to strengthen our toy product offering.

What’s the next step for you guys?

Continue working on new, innovative products to strengthen our offering; and start productions as soon as operations in China are resumed.

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