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Italians increasingly shop online for toys and games. Internet retailing continues to experience robust value growth, as it allows access to a wider selection of toy brands and products and offers price transparency, enabling consumers to research products and opt for the best deal. It also provides a higher level of convenience than grocery retailers. In 2014 a high proportion of sales of toys and games were already made via internet retailing.
Internet retailing of toys and games is likely to become even more popular in, due to developments in e-commerce and mobile-commerce, along with rising ownership of smartphones and tablets in Italy. A larger number of retailers and manufacturers are starting to consider the potential of the internet to increase sales and meet consumer demand for additional offerings and advanced services.
Licensing is a significant strategy used by italian toy manufacturers to increase sales, even in an unfriendly economic environment. In an effort to maintain or increase their shares of the market, players produced new licensed products. This was also a way to ensure they stayed innovative and dynamic, and were perceived as such in the market by consumers.
With regard to licensing, the major licences included Frozen, Marvel Avengers, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Ben 10, Winx, Canta Tu, Mickey & Friends, Cars and Peppa Pig, followed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, Max Steel, Disney Princess, Planes, Bakugan, Hello Kitty & Friends, Iron Man, Monster High, Superman, Lego City, Star Wars, Bratz and Transformers.
The large number of different media platforms, however, has made licensing very fragmented. Nonetheless, the licenses which continue to show good performances in Italy tend to be those which are more classic.
Frozen and Marvel Avengers were very big in 2014, and companies which made investments in such licenses did well. Walt Disney’s Frozen film was so popular that it became a social phenomenon. Its success is still followed by a wide range of licensed products in toys and games, such as dolls and accessories and action figures and accessories, as well as books, apparel and home furnishings.
Rainbow has announced the arrival of the second series of Mia and Me and has chosen Giometti cinemas to present the 26 episodes of the live-action fantasy to children and adults. It combines in a unique and fascinating way daily real life events, full of empathy for the younger generation, with an exciting fantasy adventure, inspired by the dreams and wishes of children.
In 2015 AC Milan and Sanrio joined together to create the new collection AC Milan x Hello Kitty. An exclusive co-branding was born from the collaboration between Sanrio, a global company that owns the lifestyle brand Hello Kitty, and AC Milan, thanks to the master licensor adidas Italy. The collaboration involved the creation of an exclusive collection, the launch of which took place in mid-April 2015 at San Siro stadium.
In the future, the competition is expected to intensify within overall toys and games, as Sony and Nintendo are expected to lose share in the absence of key new product launches. Meanwhile, amongst the players in traditional toys and games, the battle between the two key players in Italy, Mattel and LEGO, will increasingly be fought in the territory belonging to their competitors and in terms of licensed films.
Mattel is expected to follow LEGO in terms of its internet presence, by launching new web platforms and apps in order not to lag behind its main competitor and gain share. Meanwhile, local player Giochi Preziosi also needs to come up with initiatives to stay competitive amidst the battle between the global corporations.
Following the expectation of a bright year in 2015, featuring successful new launches from the new generation of static video game consoles, the forecast period is expected to be a much steadier period for a market that is already mature in Italy. Traditional toys and games is expected to maintain slightly positive value growth at constant prices, with licensing and electronic toys being amongst the main factors helping to sustain this positive performance.
This is an extract from Euromonitor International’s Toys and Games in the Italy report. For more information, please click here.
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