Spielwarenmesse: Toy and retail trends 2025

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Toy and retail trends 2025

from Mark Sievers

The borders between offline and online are becoming ever more blurred, both in terms of children’s playing habits and consumer buying behaviour. And customers are responding to these trends in different ways. 

Technology in the playroom

Robots, talking dolls and app-controlled games – around half of all Germans say they have bought technological toys or toys with technological features in the past. The KPMG Consumer Barometer, which interviewed more than 500 consumers and selected industry experts, has found, however, that scepticism towards technology in the playroom is still rife.

Data protection and security must be guaranteed

From the manufacturers’ point of view technological trends in the toy industry still tend to play a more subordinate role. Aside from wanting to deliver good quality, their main priority is to support child development. The industry, however, is aware of the growing significance of technology and is increasingly offering ideas and products that fall within this category. Besides quality and educational added value, cyber security is now another issue facing manufacturers. After all, 78 percent of respondents expect data protection and security to be guaranteed when using web-enabled, high-tech toys.

Technology must offer added value

Despite general concerns, only one in six consumers completely reject technological toys and toys with technological elements. Nearly four out of ten respondents also feel it is important that children are introduced to the digital world early on, but also stress that technological elements in toys and games should offer children and the game itself genuine added value.

Despite the rise of technological toys, the demand for traditional toys remains buoyant. The study also found that quality still beats price in the list of priorities. When choosing a toy, 94 percent of consumers say they put good quality first. 31 percent are prepared to pay more for high-tech toys than for toys that contain no technology at all.

Online gains ground in the toy trade

THE KPMG survey Retail Trends 2025 confirmed that consumers want the best of both worlds when buying their toys. They like to take advantage of online and analogue shopping opportunities, preferring a combination of the two. Looking at the channels more specifically, the KPMG Consumer Barometer shows that two thirds of German consumers buy toys at least every six months from an online store that also sells other products. Online stores specialising solely in toys are visited less frequently. Bricks-and-mortar shops – department stores and independent toy retailers – are mid-table.

Is the retail trade equipped for these customers?

All this poses a huge challenge for German retailers. On the one hand, they are expected to anticipate the opportunities offered by digitisation whilst continuing to provide a traditional sales platform for toys, on the other. To ensure that German retailers are equipped for these challenges, companies need to give more thought to the future alignment of their business models and the kind of added value they are looking for.

Omni-business reflects the needs of tomorrow’s customers

Customer-based, omni-business models appear to be the way forward. With the aid of new technologies, they link up all business processes and systems along the supply chain. The aim is to offer the customer tailored products and buying experiences – whenever and wherever they like.

This requires retailers to understand the needs of their customers, to gain their loyalty and to invest time and energy in strengthening these customer relationships. There is absolutely no doubt that digital transformation and networking are here to stay. The German consumer is bipolar and discerning to the extreme – and will remain so long into the future. The German retail trade must learn to adapt: If retailers take customers as they are and then treat them like royalty, they will be richly rewarded.

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