Why mums shop online

Dominic Sacco asks parents where they buy their young children's toys from and compares this to last year's shopping patterns.
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Online is still the number one go-to destination for mums who are looking for pre-school toys.

58.3 per cent of parents surveyed by ToyNews say they buy their new toys using internet stores. However, one third of those say they also supplement their online shopping with visits to local bricks and mortar stores, too, depending on the product.

Sarahdazjc says: “With a busy lifestyle I don’t get a lot of chances to go shopping without the children, so I tend to do the majority of my shopping online. It’s so much easier to look at what is available, find prices and special offers and not make random impulsive buys.”

Mumsnet user Fluffygal adds: “I will normally look at the Amazon, eBay, Toys R Us and Asda websites to compare prices and I’ll buy from the cheapest. I also use the reviews of products left on Amazon and Toys R Us to decide whether the toy is any good.”

Comparatively, our survey last year found that 64 per cent of mums shopped online.

But it’s the multiple toy retailer that has increased in favour the most with parents over the past 12 months. One fifth of mums tell ToyNews they shop in multiples like Toys R Us and Smyths, compared to just eight per cent in 2012. 

“We buy the majority of the girls toys from multiple toy retailers such as Toys R Us, mostly for the convenience of being able to get most bits in one place, although the prices in there are often better than independent places too,” says Kelly King. 

8.3 per cent say they prefer indie toy retailers, while 12.4 per cent favour supermarkets, second-hand shops and auction websites like eBay. Last year, 17 per cent preferred shopping in toy indies.


Half of all mothers say that the price of toys is the greatest factor that influence where they decide to shop. This is a dip of 21 per cent compared to last year, when 71 per cent of mums said price was the number one factor.

Kris Slaven says: “The cost of toys is a big factor. Generally we would visit the same retailers because they provide not only the cheaper prices but also value for money, like deals and offers.”

SavoyCabbage from Mumsnet adds: “I will do online research before I buy. I read reviews on Amazon and then buy the toy I wanted from another online retailer if it was cheaper. I also live close to two toy shops so I go there too; they have knowledgeable staff but not the range.”

In fact, the convenience of shopping in a certain toy store influences parents a lot more than it did in 2012.

Almost one third of parents want the toy buying process to be quick and easy, rather than considering just price alone.

They’ll look at parking, location and layout when deciding if a shop is convenient for them.

Last year, just 14 per cent said convenience was the most important factor when choosing a retailer.

Lucy Sheridan tells ToyNews: “I don’t want to get caught up in crowded shopping centres.

“I shop online because I can do so at any time of day or night, I’m not tied to opening hours or constraints of time for other reasons such as the school run or meal times.”

Mumsnet user Babybouncer comments: “For the little toys my kids get every so often, they tend to come from Tesco when I'm doing my monthly shop. Sometimes I get them in ELC in Mothercare, but there aren't any other toy shops within a half hour drive.”

12.5 per cent of mums say product range is the driving factor for them, while just over eight per cent look at customer service and brand integrity when deciding where to buy a toy from.

ToyNews’ survey contains results from more than 20 mums via Facebook, Mumsnet, Netmums and email.

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Mum's the word: February

This month, we speak to users of Mumsnet about where they buy their children?s toys from. We also asked what the biggest influences are when making this choice.

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