High Street retailer Argos is ramping up its offering of Pokémon toys this season following the global success of the AR mobile game, Pokémon Go.
The worldwide phenomenon sees kids and adults alike hunt for Pokémon in real world locations via Augmented Reality and the retail group has indicated that ‘current demand as an effect has taken everybody by surprise.’
In an exclusive interview with ToyNews, Argos’ trading manager, toys and nursery, Linzi Walker explained that demand has been so great in the days following the app game’s launch that “we are reappraising what we are doing from the toy point of view.”
“I think Pokémon Go has taken everyone by surprise, it has gone absolutely mad, and the demand and media around Pokémon Go has really driven the entire franchise,” she said.
“We are expecting massive things for Pokémon this year, it is really hot right now. We are already seeing an uplift in sales of our trading cards and predict it could be one of the surprise favourites this Christmas.”
The game has already caused a media stir on global scale, capturing the imagination of the public and helping part-stake owners Nintendo to a welcome surge in share prices.
The recent media coverage has only acted to drive the awareness of the game and demand for products, including for toys on a scale that, according to Argos’ Walker, has not been seen in the industry for a long time.
“It’s a great example of how social can drive interest,” Walker told ToyNews.
“We have seen that in the past with video games but not really so much in toys.”
The retailer is not the only one to have benefitted from the recent uplift in Pokémon and joins the likes of the UK board game specialist Esdevium and global toy manufacturer TOMY in enjoying the franchise’s revitalisation, 20 years since it was first introduced.
Outside of toys, apparel specialist Bioworld has also seen a severe uptick in demand for its Pokémon themed streetwear among both kids and adult fans of the franchise.
Earlier this year, Esdevium revealed that sales of its Pokémon Trading Card Game had surged 75 per cent and suggested that interest in the Pokémon brand in the UK ‘was at an all time high.’
Esdevium MD, Steve Buckmaster labelled the performance of the firm’s range of Pokémon products as ‘outstanding’ in what is the third successive year of double-digit growth for the Pokémon Trading Card Game in the UK.
Despite the success of the game, the Pokémon franchise still has some way to go to rival previous years’ top toy performer, Disney’s Frozen that topped sales charts and top toy lists over the span of multiple years.
“I don’t think we will ever fill the gap left by Frozen, it was so huge in its heyday so it’s always a challenge to find something that will do that job for that number of years,” concluded Walker.