UK Toy Retail Survey - Part 1 - ToyNews

UK Toy Retail Survey - Part 1

This year we?ve extended the ToyNews retail survey with the help of Carrick James Market Research, which compiled the results independently for us. Ronnie Dungan analyses the results....
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Who has been the most important supplier to your business this year?

Flair - 29%
Hasbro - 13%
Character Options - 11%
Playmobil - 11%
Mattel - 11%
RC2 - 9%
Orchard - 7%
Schleich - 5%
John Crane - 5%
Le Toy Van - 5%
Zapf - 4%
Youngsters - 4%
Bandai - 4%
Ravensburger - 4%
Galt - 4%
Great Gizmos - 4%

Last year this category was won by Mattel, but it finds itself some way down the reckoning this year in fifth place. Perhaps the recall publicity had a role to play or maybe others upped their game a little.

It’s a fantastic result for Flair, which has gone one better than last year to win the category in convincing style. RC2 did well once again, and Playmobil, having only managed an honourable mention in last year’s survey, obviously got it right in 2007.

What has been the most important product to your business this year?

Doctor Who range - 18%
Sylvanian Families - 16%
Transformers - 16%
In The Night Garden - 7%
Lego - 7%
Playmobil - 7%
Arts & Crafts - 5%
Diddl & Friends - 4%
Schleich - 4%
Trading Cards - 4%
Fifi and the Flowertots - 4%
Baby Born - 4%
Games - 4%
Others - 53%

No change at the top as Character’s Doctor Who range once again demonstrates what can be done with strong management of a licence and good, imaginative product growth.

And again, Flair has improved upon last year’s performance in this category, with Sylvanian Families coming a close joint second alongside Hasbro’s Transformers. Last year it was a creditable fourth. Could there be two more contrasting product ranges occupying the same space?

Hasbro has also had a stellar year with the In the Night Garden range. Pre-school can be a hit and miss, but the Ragdoll creation has mirrored the performance of Teletubbies in catching the imagination of children under four.

What has been the most profitable sector for your business?

Jigsaw Puzzles - 11%
Arts and Crafts - 9%
Trading Cards - 5%
Nursery - 5%
Pre-School - 5%
In the Night Garden - 4%
Lego - 4%
Fifi and the Flowertots - 4%
Craft/hobby - 4%
Playmobil - 4%
Wooden/traditional - 4%
Others - 33%

This question usually throws a huge variety of answers, demonstrating the huge diversity in the type of toy stores out there. Last year it was the Pre-school sector which dominated and with such a strong performance from In the Night Garden you might have expected similar. But, of course, although some thought it was a sector in itself, it couldn’t quite match jigsaws.

What has been the most important non-toy sector for your business?

Arts and Craft - 9%
Trading Cards - 7%
Puzzles - 7%
Cards - 7%
War Craft cards - 6%
Nursery - 6%
Gift - 4%
Games - 4%
Stationery - 4%
Computer games - 4%
None - 17%
Others - 48%

(Miniature Books; Wellington Boots; Electronics; Jet Cartridges; Jewellery Making; Household; Sleeping Bags; Gardening; Science Objects; Motoring Books, Construction Kits; Video Games; Adult Fancy Dress.)

When times are tough who cares what people are buying in-store? Smart retailers always have a good selection of peripheral lines and so-called value added items. If you combine the specific mention of War Craft with the trading cards the category comes out on top and the collectability is clearly a consistent sales driver in-store and a regular pocket money purchase for kids. Interesting also to note plenty of toy retailers have a purist attitude to the range and do not stock anything they do not consider to be a toy.

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