Spielwarenmesse: How toy companies appeal to families during Covid-19 shutdown

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How toy companies appeal to families during Covid-19 shutdown

from Maria Costa

In the era of Covid-19, with physical toy stores closed and many people across the globe experiencing some level of lockdown, the toy industry is facing a challenging time. However, this situation is leading us to find new ways to innovate and encourage sales.

Even if it is a difficult moment for society, and quite frankly for children, there are some important highlights for the industry:

  • Children have more time to play than ever.
  • Families are spending lots of time together.
  • Parents (especially the ones trying to work from home) are trying to find ways to have their children entertained by themselves, while avoiding too much screen time.

In this context, families are finding toys their biggest ally, so the industry has, no doubt, the opportunity to implement relevant strategies to continue, and even improve their business.

On-line sales with great deals and delivery services

As brick-and-mortar toy stores are not an option, e-tailing is experiencing a relevant increase in sales. Some toy companies are even pointing out that their current on-line sales can compare to the ones during the Christmas period.

Important discounts at the Entertainer

To achieve sales, both companies and distributors are offering options to make the transactions much more appealing. Most offer free delivery, and important discounts (as much as 50% off!). And they are implementing great initiatives such as the one from Toys’r’us Canada, which is selling Stay at Home Play Packs, with some like it’s “Creative Wonder Fun Pack” already sold out.

Data shows there is not only an increment of people buying through the internet, but there are new on-line buyers as well, customers that are buying toys on-line for the first time. This might be a changing point for the industry from now on.

More than selling products, offer content

Now, more than ever, content marketing (presenting content as a strategy to appeal to your consumer) is on the rise. Data shows that people are spending more time than usual using the Internet for entertainment (watching shows, reading information, etc), so it is a relevant moment to implement on-line content marketing strategies. Here there are some interesting approaches the toy industry is embracing:

1. Inform be part of the solution

While some companies, such as Playmobil, are creating videos to help children understand the situation, others are sharing documents with recommendations for parents to take care and entertain children during the lockdown. One of the main message companies are helping to spread is the importance of play for the well-being of children during these moments. In concrete, Famosa in collaboration with AIJU (Technological Institute for children's products leisure in Spain) has created a guide with 10 key points based on the main idea that play should be the focus of children’s daily activities during the quarantine. Lego has also published the document “5 Play ideas from LEGO® Play Agents. Ideas to help the whole family have fun whatever time, space or toys are available!”.

Interestingly, this strategy has had an even more relevant impact as some celebrities have embraced the ideas behind the recommendations, publishing fun moments of their children playing with toys from specific brands on their social media.

Toys'R'Us website USA

2. Offer specific creative activities and entertainment options

Companies are using their websites as platforms for children and parents to access ideas such as DIY activities, templates, images and videos with new ways to play with toys, or play on-line games. Fun content and activities that are featuring toys as part of a bigger picture.

3. Help people be in contact, share their creations, their stories.

Some on-line strategies are helping children feel connected, not only with their loved ones but also with other children who share their passion for the same kinds of toys. Lego, through its initiative #LetsBuildTogether, is helping children to share photos of their joyful moments while playing with Legos. Moreover, the platform launches daily challenges and offers fun Lego video lessons.

In conclusion, in this very complicated economical, and logistical scenario for the toy industry, in which many important I+D projects will be delayed, there is hope. In this article, I highlighted various on-line strategies and campaigns that, while supporting society, can really booster a toy brand during these hard times. The main messages are: Keep being active! Be innovative and helpful in the way you reach your consumers!


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

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Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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