It's that time of year again when retailers lay their cards on the table as to what will be the hottest toys this Christmas.
Among the cries of ‘but it’s only July’, will be the raft of retailers browsing the different lists to see which products they should ensure grace their shelves come Q4.
Or will they?
According to this month’s survey by ToyShop UK, only three per cent of those asked take the lists seriously, while 47 per cent ignore them completely with 50 per cent claiming to only take a passing interest.
Several of the independents asked stated that they couldn’t compete on the price of some of the products mentioned on the lists, which included Flair Xeno and Vivid’s My Friend Cayla, and therefore ignored them.
“As a small independent we cannot compete with the supermarkets and so on so we steer clear of these toys,” stated The Cheshire Cat’s Mimi Gordon.
Others speculated that stocking products that were not on every list helped them to stand out.
“We try and offer products that the mainstream stores don’t stock,” said The Hare and The Broom’s Sally Brooming.
“We cannot compete with them on price but can on uniqueness and quality of products and service.”
Some also felt that regardless of how retailers respond to them, the lists heap unnecessary pressure onto parents who feel they have to buy the children those ‘top toys’.
“I think parents feel pressured by these lists,” said Janis Phillimore from ImagiDo!.
“The toys often don’t become that ‘must have toy’ until it’s been advertised on children’s channels anyway. The children didn’t know they ‘needed’ it until they were told they did.
“I won’t even be looking to see what the ‘top toys’ are as I am a new business trying to build a reputation for selling unusual, traditional or educational toys. I very much doubt there will be anything on the lists that will interest me.”
Check out the complete list of responses below:
Paul David, Mr Toy Box
“Anything that sells really well is sold with a heavy discount to the likes of Amazon and just aren’t worth going for.”
Shirley Wardle, Jack and Jills Wooden Toys
“I never see them, and never think to actively look for them.”
Janis Phillimore, ImagiDo!
“I think parents feel pressured by these lists. The toys often don’t become that ‘must have toy’ until it’s been advertised on children’s channels anyway. The children didn’t know they ‘needed’ it until they were told they did. I won’t even be looking to see what the ‘top toys’ are as I am a new business trying to build a reputation for selling unusual, traditional or educational toys. I very much doubt there will be anything on the lists that will interest me. I would rather maintain the reputation I am gaining for quality toys that encourage children to use their imagination than to make a ‘fast buck’ on things that may be forgotten by Boxing Day.”
Caroline Anstey, Imagine…!
“I tend to feel that these products in the lists will be lines with a TV promotional budget attached.”
Luan Hall, Fairies n Frogs
“I do not stock branded toys and my customers come to me for this fact that there is something different on the shelf than they can buy everywhere else.”
John Norton, Star to Star Toys
“It is nice to see if they really are close to what the public are thinking, but most of the time they choose the known best sellers and get the rest wrong.”
Helen Gourley, Toy Hub
“It’s all about who has paid the most to be on their list. It’s nothing to do with which your children will actually want to play with. We always take them with a pinch of salt.”
Mimi Gorman, The Cheshire Cat
“As a small independent we cannot compete with the supermarkets and so on so we steer clear of these toys.”
Tim Broad, Lighthouse Toys
“Our customers want products that can’t be found in Argos, Tesco, etc. Plus we can’t compete with the prices.”
Sue Needham, Cots n Togs
“We cannot compete with these places so we need to be individual. It’s the reason people come to us.”
Andrew Lord, Dress-A-Doll
“We don’t take too much notice of the top Christmas toys lists as they are normally the big manufacturers with large advertising budgets that will be in the top ten. For us smaller guys, it is a lot harder to get noticed in the market.”
Tracie Peacock-Quinney, Ella’s Toy Shop
“We only take a fleeting interest in the lists as we don’t sell LEGO, Sylvanian Families or any licensed products - which are normally the key items appearing in the lists. It would be more interesting to see individual suppliers ranking their own products in a top ten best seller list. Like most independent retailers, we know our customers and their preferences so we will be playing to the strengths of the products we know and that suits our customers to encourage further sales.”
Sally Brooming, The Hare and the Broom
“We try and offer products that the mainstream stores don’t stock. We cannot compete with them on price but can on uniqueness and quality of products and service.”