Affordability — Toys Driven by Value-for-Dollar, Attention
to Detail and Pennies-per-Play
Second in a series exploring the 4 A’s of 2010 Toy
Extending into 2010 is the economy-focused trend that became evident
in 2008-2009. Consumers who are keeping a firm hand on their
wallets and retailers who are still managing inventories very closely
have each found that toy makers are continuing to pump up their products
this year with details to delight both kids and adult collectors at
price points under $25.
Demonstrating the trend for economy-priced items in a dollars to
units comparison, leading market researcher The NPD Group reports that
retail dollar sales for the toy and game industries increased 1% from
Jan - June YTD 2010 versus 2009 while retail unit sales increased 3% for
the same time period versus year-ago comparisons.
Although price is of obvious importance to
cash-strapped parents, results from the 2010 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty
Engagement Index indicate that consumers are not buying
based on price alone. Earlier this year, the survey polled 33,500
consumers of 518 brands in 71 categories, and responses showed that
consumers are relying heavily on their perception of value when deciding
which brands to stay loyal to during the recession.
“This year we are seeing more toys than ever before that
incorporate multiple levels of play for a very attractive price,”
said Reyne Rice, Toy Industry Association (TIA) toy trend specialist.
“Families will be delighted with the fresh and fun choices they
will find on the retail shelves now and into the holiday
According to Rice, factors such as value-for-dollar, attention to
detail, and pennies-per-play are all enhancing play value.
Toys that come at low price points generally can’t be beat.
Options under $20 include Hasbro’s FurReal Friends Snuggimals
Puppy and Cepia’s Zhu Zhu Pets (both only $7.99), Lego Puzzle
Games- Lava Dragon ($14.99) and Kids Give Travel Charmers
($19.99). [For more examples, see the Reyne Talks Toys video
is for Affordable” | March 2010.]
Another key affordability factor is the extended play value that
comes from construction sets, arts and crafts projects, and child-sized
role play activities that let kids play again and again with different
results. Products that provide a new play experience even when they are
played with over and over again are highly valued, explains Rice.
Categories that offer this pennies-per-play appeal include games that
provide new ways to play … both cooperative play rules and
competitive play rules are often included in the instructions, providing
different learning experiences, and skill-leveling game components allow
multiple ages to play the same game together.
Game-makers have also begun offering shorter-play game experiences at
lower price points to appeal to on-the-go consumers who don’t want
to dedicate an entire Saturday afternoon to a board game. Affordable
game options in this category include Briarpatch’s Grab N Go
Games, Mattel’s To Go Games and Hasbro’s Travel Games, which
include card games that capitalize on popular board game play: Yahtzee
Hands Down, Sorry Revenge, Scrabble Slam and Monopoly Deal. Other
best-sellers include Learning Resources’ Take N Play Go Anywhere
Games in magnetic travel tins, ThinkFun’s Zingo-to-Go and the
ever-popular Bananagrams, which comes in a convenient zip-bag carry
Even within the traditionally lower-priced categories, collectors are
noticing the highly-detailed sculpting of dolls, figures and
accessories. New offerings in action figures showed a return to
the affordable 3 ¾ inch scale action figures for Iron Man II, Star
Wars, GI Joe and more, providing extra features such as multiple points
of articulation, detailed sculpting and extra play accessories.
Hasbro’s Iron Man II action figures added transparent collector
trading cards, allowing fans to customize Iron Man’s armor.
Collectors at last week’s Comic-Con event in San Diego,
California, for example, were thrilled to see the attention to facial
sculpting and authentic design details in Jakks Pacific’s UFC
Figures and Mattel’s new WWE Flex Force collection.
These are just a few examples of the many products currently on the
market that appeal to value-for-dollar, attention to detail, and
pennies-per-play. In uncertain economic times, consumers and retailers
gravitate toward tried and true brands that they know and trust.
Companies looking to succeed in this competitive marketplace need to
communicate why their product is beneficial to consumers.