Pocket money toys

According to NPD, some 70 per cent of toy items sold in the UK cost less than a fiver...
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Playground Crazes are perhaps the hardest area of the toys market to predict, depending on what captures children’s imaginations. It relies on the ability to share and play with friends on a regular basis, as well as being easily accessible to children. This initial barrier is compounded by price; too expensive and you lose the market.

Most so called ‘Playground Crazes’ are generally low priced items (under £5) which a child can purchase with their own money, also known as pocket money toys. Statistics show that 70 per cent of all toy items sold in the UK cost less than £5, however, they only account for 25 per cent of total toy value. (NPD EPoS Retailer Panel).

The boys choice of pocket money toys is vast, covering most categories from low priced Action Figures like the Ben 10 Action Figures to Hot Wheels Cars Assortment in Vehicles. Action figures remain at the heart of the boys pocket money category with collectability key to driving growth, from series such as the individual Gormiti Foil Pack.

The largest new launch in the last year has been Bakugan, which has a range of price points. However, over 58 per cent of all units (31 per cent of all value) sell under £5, putting it firmly in the pocket money arena. The other attraction for Bakugan, and a number of other playground crazes, is the battling aspect of gameplay which has become increasingly popular in the last few years.

Another big success story in the last year is GoGo’s Crazy Bones which have sold more than £1.2m YTD September 2009 (NPD EPoS Retailer Panel) and look set to continue to grow through the new Evolution range. New to the playground is a selection of mini Lego items – Tiny Turbo and mini Creator Assortment – which have also made an impact since launch.

For the girls, the playground is less about the latest craze and more about long running properties with collectability a stronger driver than battling. The top pocket money properties for girls are Disney Princess, Littlest Pet Shop and In My Pocket, all of which involve a combination of imaginative play with storylines, as well as the drive to purchase a whole range.

Starting with marbles and conkers, original playground crazes have long been an important area of the toys market. Key to success is a combination of factors ranging from characters (both TV and film, as well as original) and low price points, plus a battling factor for boys and collectability to motivate repeat purchases. Success can be quickly won in the playground and sometimes just as quickly lost, so adaptability and refreshment of playground crazes is key to continued growth.

Top selling items under £5 (by value)

1. Ben 10 Alien Force 10cm Figures (Bandai)
2. Hot Wheels Basic Car Assortment (Mattel)
3. Cars Vehicle Assortment (Mattel)
4. Bakugan Booster Pack (Spin Master)
5. Ben 10 Figures 10cm Assortment (Bandai)
6. Power Ranger Jungle Fury Figures (Bandai)
7. Bionicle Agori (Lego)
8. Super Tips Bright 12 (Crayola/Vivid)
9. Littlest Pet Shop Collectible Pets (Hasbro)
10. Gogo's III Explorer Pack (Magic Box)


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Encouraging start for toys

January was the strongest performing month since last May, according to the British Retail Consortium, with like-for-like sales growing 1.1 per cent. Many consumers were taking advantage of the bargains available and New Year sales to purchase replacement goods and essentials rather than treating themselves to extras.

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