How Many Of This Year’s Big Toy Launches Will Make It To Year 2?
The toy business is a very wasteful business. We have this huge churn of products each year and an annual massive product development effort which sees ongoing yearly investments in tooling, marketing materials, marketing media and manufacturing costs all spent before the product launches.
The holy grail of the toy business is to acquire or build perennial (i.e. selling every year on an ongoing basis) products and brands. These well-known products are easier to get listed by retailers, they are more likely to be bought by consumers and they are far more profitable as they need less marketing investment and far less development investment versus new products.
The challenge is that these products are not easy to come by. There are only so many established brands out there like Rubik’s Cube, Monopoly, Barbie, & Lego. Moreover, most toy companies who try to build their own brands fail to build meaningful brands with genuine consumer recognition. Those who find some degree of success in terms of evergreen products tend to have strong product formulas to keep on driving sales every year versus mass consumer brand awareness, but at least they have some element of recurring busines each year which can only be a good thing. The fact that it is hard to build massive brands or even just established perennial products shouldn’t stop us from trying.
After the investment of $billions in 2020’s toy product line, the global toy business will have to replace at least 60-70% of the product line again for 2021, which is both wasteful and imprudent if there is an opportunity to invest in new products with a better chance of hitting year 2 and beyond.
If we take a mid to long term view, over 5 to 10 years a reasonably sized toy company should be able to launch at least 1 or 2 potential perennial brands each year, and in doing so, over the course of a few years is fairly likely to find something which sticks and comes back again year after year. Then again this takes effort and commitment to creating solid foundations under your business despite the fact it’s a gruelling process.
The choice is yours – chase the quick easy wins each year and stick with the standard hamster wheel approach to the toy business or work really hard to create something permanent and recurring.
We run a Consultancy business for toy companies. We work with major toy companies through to start ups and one person bands. For more information on how we help toy companies grow their distribution around the world: www.KidsBrandInsight.com/services
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