LeapFrog on why electronic toys are driving the industry

Continuing to hold the top spot for children’s tablet software this year, LeapFrog has labeled 2015 as one of its most ‘inspiring’ to date. Rhys Troake talks with LeapFrog VP marketing EMEAA Sally Plumridge.
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How has 2015 been for LeapFrog so far?
Every year in the toy market is both challenging and exciting. That is what makes it special and 2015 at LeapFrog is no different.

We have a fantastic range of products across toys, reading and multi-media. 2015 to date has been inspiring as we have gained the most amazing insight into our brand, the categories in which we are active and how well we engage with millennial parents. This is manifested in a fantastic new marketing campaign that launches this autumn, which we feel confident will impact our business this year and create a very exciting future.

What have been your best performers so far?
The LeapPad line of learning tablets continues to prove itself as a real year round business opportunity.Now, in its fourth year, it maintains a top ten position in the industry and was the market leader in 2014, outselling all other toys in the market.

Our unique LeapFrog Learning Library hosts some of the biggest and most popular licences, from Frozen to Paw Patrol.

We continue to hold the number one spot for children’s tablet software.

In addition, our toy portfolio continues to grow in size and sales. We have three new additions to our range this year, which are just hitting the shelves.

With marketing in place, we have high hopes for the Number Loving Oven and sales to date are looking very encouraging.

What products have surprised you this year?
We have our own research facility, which means with careful testing we can ensure that our products are as appealing to consumers as possible.

Obviously we are especially proud of LeapPad and its roaring success over the last four years – it’s phenomenal.

What will be your big hitters this Christmas?
It’s hard to single one out for success, but the LeapPad Platinum is the perfect first tablet experience for kids. It’s our best tablet yet – it’s faster, brighter and has a more sensitive screen.

Now with Imagicards, kids can see their favourite characters come to life on screen with the snap of a photo as they unleash a new mode of gameplay packed with learning.

Meanwhile, Number Loving Oven is one of my personal favourites. Having worked on pre-school toys for many years, this is a very special role-play toy. It’s a wonderful character that sings and interacts with children, developing their counting, vocabulary and sharing skills.

How is the wearable tech market going for you?
The wearable tech market is booming and we’re proud to have introduced the first wearable physical activity tracker designed just for kids, which encourages active and healthy play.

With strong marketing support, LeapBand is at the forefront of that kids’ market and has become a core performer in our range.

Is the electronic toy market in good shape?
Electronic toys are driving the industry across many categories. That is because there is a huge amount of cool technology and real innovation that is inspiring and connecting with the kids of today.

What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge that we all face today is just getting standout. With retail, there is simply not enough space to merchandise all the toys that are available to buy.

With packed shelves, it is difficult for shoppers to navigate effectively to the right purchase for them.

From a marketing perspective, the window for assisting and influencing those purchase decisions, particularly in the run up to Christmas, is becoming increasingly cluttered and not to mention expensive.

We are excited about our marketing campaign this September as research has proven how well it connects with our audience. 

We are working with our retailers to really maximise our presence at retail and make the shopping experience as easy as possible. The aim is to give our retailers personalised service and support.

What’s next in the electronic toys category?
We have a very exciting line up for later this year. We will soon have a new addition hitting our shelves called Epic, the first full featured tablet from LeapFrog with an operating system based on Android 4.4. This will take children’s tablets to a new level. Also, our line-up for 2016 already looks amazing, so watch this space.

Tell us more about Epic.
It will be hitting shelves this autumn and we can’t wait.

For ages three to nine years old, it comes with all the power you’d expect from an operating system based on Android and kids can create their own first-of-its-kind playable home screen where they bring their adventures to life.

It offers seamless performance and the biggest learning experiences for kids. This really is going to lead the way in kids’ tablets.

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