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Market Research


Toy stores, ready for the holiday season

The stars of the holiday season (8)

  • Key4Communications

Retailers have everything ready for the upcoming holiday season, which in Spain is expected to very concentrated in the last three weeks. In addition, parents are increasingly informed about the toys their children want, both in terms of features and price, thanks mainly to the internet.

The outlook is moderately positive - Christmas will be tough, but toy retailers have done their homework and count with the experience of similar previous years.

We can advance the following trends for specialized toy retailers.

1. Prospects are better. Toy sales are recovering from last year, and 2013 could close with slight advances. At least it will be "the season of stability, thanks to a year in which consumers have saved more", which has resulted in "more purchasing power for specific campaigns," as explained by Ignacio Gaspar, General Director of Toy Planet.

2. Sales will be heavily influenced by seasonality. In Spain, toy sales in brick-and-mortar stores will be mostly done the last two weeks of December and the first week of January. The offline channel continues to concentrate over 95% of the industry revenues.

3. The end of 2013 will mark the beginning of 2014. Retailers will do their best to control their stocks during the campaign in order to close the year with minimum inventories. If this intention is fulfilled, they will start 2014 with the possibility of buying new products, so next year could begin with "good conditions for growth," said José Antonio Pastor, President of the Spanish Association of Toy Manufacturers.

4. But to do so, retailers are buying from manufacturers in smaller quantities and more often. They do not work with just one large order, but there prefer smaller orders throughout the quarter.

5. Taking into account the seasonality of the campaign as this way of working of retailers, there is a risk that the most popular products do not arrive on time to stores, although manufacturers and retailers say they already are "used to work in this context and offer what the consumer asks us," explains Sonia Gimeno, head of Abacus toys.

6. As retailers tend to avoid risks, they will opt for top brand toys that have been successful in previous campaigns and other sure bets. It will be very difficult to see on the shelves niche products or new licenses.

7. But there is one advantage - the fact of being used to work with such flexibility, allows to detect market trends and react quickly to consumer demands.

8. Most retailers expect sales of traditional toys to grow, especially from leading brands, as well as tablets.

9. Brands (manufacturers, products and licenses) are important. María Antonia Cladellas, from Don Dino, explains that families usually buy the toy the kids want, and children ask for specific products.

10. Customer service is essential. Specialty retailers emphasize service as one of the most important ways of differentiating themselves from department stores and hypermarkets, as explains Josep Casanovas, from Almacenes Faro.

Other stars of the holiday season:

1. Playmobil and the importance of long term thinking (10/3/2013)
2. Furby gets the pole position for the Christmas season (10/11/2013)
3. 12 licenses for Christmas (10/17/2013)
4. Why tablets for kids are a success (10/24/2013)
5. Lego - the value of being a specialist (10/31/2013)
6. Board games, updated classics (11/08/2013)
7. The online channel is increasingly important for toys (11/14/2013)

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