The internet is king with users of Mumsnet when it comes to shopping for toys. We asked a group of Mumsnetters where they purchased the majority of their children’s toys from and nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of our focus group said they used online retailers.
SardineQueen says: “Online is the bee’s knees for me (I have two children under five). I have done almost all of it online for the last few years.”
JeanBodel adds: “Online, definitely. I usually know what I want then trawl the internet until I find it.”
Coming in second in the popularity stakes were independent retailers, with 17 per cent of the vote. Weblette explains: “There’s a fantastic local independent which has educational stuff.”
Multiple toy shops such as Toys R Us, Smyths, Argos, etc were used by eight per cent of our recipients.
11 per cent said they primarily use second-hand outlets, including NCT sales, online auction sites like eBay and Gumtree, charity shops and car boot sales.
Helumballoon offers: “Charity shops, jumble sales, Gumtree. DD [darling daughter] is young enough not to know the difference between new and secondhand.”
Cat64 agrees: “For my own DC [darling children], secondhand mostly – car boots, table top sales, Christmas or summer fetes, etc. Even the local paper or a postcard in the window of the corner shop.”
When it came to the factors influencing the decision of the Mumsnetters who spoke to ToyNews, a whopping 71 per cent of them said that price is the key issue when making a decision.
Acceptableintheeighties explains: “The biggest influence on where I shop is price. As much as I would love to shop in independent retailers with great customer service, most of the time, I buy items online so I can find the best deal for what I am looking for.”
Trixymalixy says: “Price is the main criteria. I do a lot of research online looking for the best price. I’m afraid to say that generally my local independent retailer is miles more expensive than I can find online.”
Many of the respondents said they shop around online and on the High Street for the best price. Sossiges comments: “I buy mostly online, Amazon, eBay, or wherever’s cheapest and I always shop around online for the best deal.”
14 per cent made their choice based on convenience, taking into consideration proximity of the shop, ease of purchase and delivery and the least hassle.
GooseyLoosey offers: “Mainly Amazon as I cannot stand toy shops.”
Ten per cent choose their retailer based on the range of products it provides. Just five per cent said that customer service is the main reason for their choice of retailer.
Of the individual outlets picked up on in responses, Amazon came out top, with 50 per cent of the respondents mentioning the site.
Purplehonesty says: “Amazon: great prices and free delivery to save traling the shops. Plus they do recommendations and similar things they think you might like.”
Stores which were often mentioned as a primary or secondary choice for toy shopping included John Lewis. Sardinequeen comments: “Most of this year’s presents have come from John Lewis. It offers free delivery and great customer service and we have a couple of branches nearby if we need to pick-up or return.”
So the competition in toy retail seems to be moving trade away from the High Street and parents are increasingly making their decisions based on cost.
Research based on 36 Mumsnetters responses.
Mum knows best
We asked Mumsnetters where they buy their toys and why…
“I buy toys online, generally. It's easier and saves me the hell of shopping.”
“Loads of places – NCT nearly new, eBay, Amazon or Tesco mainly. Or other online stores, then sometimes ELC. I do go to my local independent sometimes as it has things I don't see elsewhere. I don't like Toy R Us much.”
“It depends what I want but Smyths or Argos. Might check Amazon out as it’s easier to have things delivered sometimes.
I didn't like Toys R Us as I found I spent money on crap that wasn't wanted for the sake of it.”
“I buy from eBay and Amazon mostly. Price is important but also, living in an area where toy shops are non-existent, they are crucial. I often use the reviews and prices on Amazon to check the prices and features on eBay items. It may take a little time but it’s so much easier than trying to source items in local town.”
“I buy wherever is cheapest. Right now that means Facebook buying and selling groups, and eBay.”
“My local (Chorlton cum Hardy) toy shop. It is a community cooperative and has lovely, friendly informed staff so it’s my first port of call. I feel it’s use it or lose it.
I also buy toys in charity shops and eBay.”
“For my own DC [darling children], secondhand mostly – car boots, table top sales, Christmas or summer fetes, etc. Even the local paper or postcard in the window of the corner shop. Now, for presents for smaller nieces and nephews, mostly online. Even where there is a delivery charge, by the time you balance petrol and parking to go look in the shops, it will still generally work out cheaper. Cost is the main factor.”
“One excellent independent, used on Facebook/charity shops and the internet. Refuse to use Toys R Us online or in-store.”
“Online – Amazon, GLTC, Babipur, John Lewis. I would buy local and independent if there was one.”
ELC (but only with a 20 per cent voucher); Amazon if it’s cheaper; Toys R Us as the children can come and choose; John Lewis – if we have vouchers.”