Every year The Insights Family® speak to more than half a million family members across 18 countries, to understand their current and future attitudes, behaviours, and consumptions. In order to provide their clients with a competitive advantage, they have analysed the current trends within the kids’ toy industry to anticipate what will be driving their wish lists this holiday season.
Co-creation: kids want to build & develop their own experiences
The trend for co-creation has been a theme in all four of The Insights Family® Future Forecast reports from 2018 to 2021, growing in strength each year.
Kids, parents, and families don’t just want to consume a product or watch content, they want to create, build, and develop their own personalised experiences. So much so, that in 2019 The Insights Family® declared that the terms ‘audience’ and ‘consumer’ are now outdated. By Christmas 2021, the trend is set to have gained full momentum in the toy sector.
Currently, on average, 47% of 6-9s in Europe consider personalisation to be an important factor in their purchase behaviour. In the UK, if the importance of personalisation continues on its current trajectory (+63% since February 2021), by Christmas, over two-thirds of children could consider this an influential aspect to their purchase decisions.
Toys ageing up: could 2021 be a comeback year for tween & teen toys?
Although pre-schoolers play with toys the most (13h 32m per week in Germany), followed by kids aged 6-9 (9 hours) over the last year, play is starting to age up, with tweens aged 10-12 and even teens becoming more engaged with toys.
Tweens in France for example have reported a 6-minute increase per day playing with toys in 2021 compared to 2020, accounting for around an additional 37 hours of play over the course of a year.
Tweens and teens toy spending has also been on the rise. Boys aged between 10-15 in Germany have reported an increase in spending their own pocket money on toys and games. For example, Trading Cards such as Pokémon have seen 205% more kids spending their pocket money on them since January 2020. Stickers and Outdoor toys also increased by 142% and 225% over the same period, respectively.
The trend for trading cards is partly driven by a sense of nostalgia with teens, but we also can’t underestimate the power of influencers. Popular YouTubers such as Logan Paul have recently fuelled excitement around Pokémon cards, creating content and videos on their expensive collections.
Going beyond categories
The speed of change and innovation in the kid’s industry means the lines between what were once traditional categories are now blurring. Over the last few years, this could be witnessed especially in the digital space. With Netflix creating ‘choose your own story’-content, where do the definition of a video game end and a TV show begin?
Likewise, as Fortnite began to host concerts and other in-game events, the question was asked: is Fortnite a video game or social media platform? Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney commented “Fortnite is a game...primarily. But with every update and every new creative map, it grows closer towards being a place and a platform.” We are now observing this trend in the toy industry too.
LEGO (the favourite toy brand in the EU5, most popular in Germany at 13%) continue to blur category boundaries by utilising the latest technology. LEGO VIDIYO combines their classic figurines with an Augmented Reality app – enabling kids to create their own music videos.
LEGO VIDIYO taps into another trend we expect to be popular this Christmas: musical toys. The kids’ entertainment ecosystem is going through an audio-boom, creating exciting opportunities for the toy industry. Once again, innovation means entirely new categories are emerging. Due to this audio-boom, ‘carefully connected smart speakers’ such as the Toniebox and Yoto - which deliver audio content through a system of collectable cards or toys - are becoming increasingly popular. Toniebox is currently the 5th top smart speaker in Germany for 3-5s.