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“Specialized stores and strong play value products are surging”

Mimmo Santonicola, International Business Development Manager, Macdue


Mimmo Santonicola is in charge of the international business development of Macdue, an Italian toy distributor established in 1980 that started manufacturing its own products seven years ago. Santonicola believes the economic situation is encouraging a thoughtful purchase where consumers value the quality of toys.

Seven years ago Macdue decided to add the manufacturing activity to the distribution business. Which were the main reasons behind this decision?
It was a decision made to build a long-term path for Macdue, in the same period when Burago was leaving a huge space in Italian vehicle toy category because of its financial problems, and after having builded a strong background in the vehicle-toys category by distributing different brands.

Over the following years the growth of this brand has been tremendous, and numbers speak for themselves: Motorama records a turnover of  €14 millions for Macdue in Italy and €4 millions worldwide, it has a market share over 35% in die cast and radio control in Italy, and the battery operated ride-on Fiat 500 replica is still the best seller ride-on in Italy, and is among our most successful products abroad. In fact, international markets, where we have been competing for three years, are adding a substantial boost to the company growth, as Motorama is now distributed in the US, Spain, France and different countries in South America, East Europe and Middle East

How do you manage both activities? Do you make complementary lines of product or do you compete with your distribution clients?
The development of our own ranges, together with commercial policy and distribution choices, takes carefully into consideration the brands and products we distribute, in order not to harm the business we are developing together with our partners (Intex, Carrera, Playmobil, and Maisto, just to name few of them).

Even within same category of toys, Motorama lines have the aim to integrate and complete the assortment of other brands: for example Disney die-cast, an exclusive license owned by Macdue, covers a niche without harming other lines we have in the same category.

Which are the main trends in the European toy market?
I see two main trends. First of all there is an obvious reduction of purchases and, at the same time, a closer attention to the value of every single purchase: people buy less often than previously but they also require more quality and are willing to spend more for it. Therefore, we see a strong reduction of purchases in hyper and super markets and for impulse-buy product, while on the other hand specialized stores and strong play value products are surging.

Another booming trend comes from app-related toys, that is to say, traditional toys used in combination with mobile devices. The real challenge is to build a digital platform that not only enhances the toy experience but that is also highly integrated into it, and several companies are experimenting different ways of doing so.

Which are Macdue's goals for 2012?
We are focusing now on the launch of our new brand Ferrari Play&Go, a preschool range under exclusive license agreement for Macdue in Italy and Spain, along with a selection of stores worldwide coherent with Ferrari Brand values: Harrods London, FAO Schwarz New York, and Ferrari stores.

We also want to further establish Motorama in the US and Spain, so far our biggest markets outside Italy, and develop even more the network of partners that are supporting us worldwide in the distribution for each country.

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