Tag Archives: kids brand insight

5 Reasons Why Kids Love Minions…

5 Reasons Why Kids Love Minions…

We recently conducted a small piece of research into the hugely successful Minions movie, and why it is kids like it so much.

Our article features on the website of our Consumer research and Toy consultancy business: http://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/ 

Happy reading!

 

by Steve Reece, CEO of Kids Brand Insight www.KidsBrandInsight.com,  a leading Consultancy to toy, game and kids entertainment companies around the world, which helps companies find the right toy & game factories, consumer research test their products with kids and parents and secure export distribution/market entry around the world

Toy Development: Should We Take An Innovative Approach Versus Following The Formula

Toy Development: Should We Take An Innovative Approach Versus Following The Formula

Toy companies often speak of innovation, yet if you looked at the average toy aisle today and compared it with the toy aisle from 10 years ago, how much would actually have changed?

You’d still see action figures, playsets and collectibles from the latest hit kids movie.

You’d still see an array of board games, construction toys, plush, vehicles etc.

Furby was in market 15 years ago, and was fluffy and lovable back then as it is today.

So where does innovation fit in?

The reality is that there are only so many themes to go around, for instance this year dinosaurs have made a major comeback for obvious reasons, princesses are still more than performing at the checkouts, monsters and zombies still abound as do cutesy animals. (For more on perennial themes in toys check out this article I wrote for the UK’s excellent Toy News magazine: http://www.toynews-online.biz/opinion/read/timeless-toy-themes-perennial-goldmines/040251) ).

Anyone who thinks they are developing toys based on a completely new theme is probably misguided or mistaken!

However, what we do see is a product development on a massive scale. While we see some massively disruptive new categories emerge (Skylanders/Disney Infinity) and established brands update their products with the latest technologies just as Furby has done…as an industry we still develop a monstrous amount of products in established product categories each and every year. Every year the Spielwarenmesse (Nuremberg) International Toy Fair showcases over 75,000 new products, which averages out at 25 new products per exhibitor. That’s a huge volume of work for any company to contemplate.

And while new tech driven products grab a disproportionate amount of the headlines, the vast majority of $sales i.e. 90%+ come via products in long established product categories.

So when we look at innovation in the toy industry, we’re mostly looking at innovative execution versus pure blue sky. The most successful toy companies tend to do the best job at blending proven formulas with executional innovations on an ongoing basis.

For sure there will always be those who try to reinvent the wheel and make it big, and good luck to them, but the analysis suggests that fresh thinking about traditional play patterns is most likely to deliver reliable long term success in the long term.

P.S. In case you haven’t heard yet, entry to The Toy Verdict Awards 2015 is now open, for more details or to enter, just go to http://www.thetoyverdict.com/the-toy-verdict-awards/

by Steve Reece, CEO of Kids Brand Insight www.KidsBrandInsight.com,  a leading Consultancy to toy, game and kids entertainment companies around the world, which helps companies find the right toy & game factories, consumer research test their products with kids and parents and secure export distribution/market entry around the world. 

Where All The Profit’s At In The Toy Industry

Where All The Profit’s At In The Toy Industry

One of the most exciting and stimulating features of working in the toy industry is the ongoing product development cycle. So many new products don’t make it past the first year that the majority of companies in the industry are continually in a process of development. And frankly that takes a lot of work, as well as a huge amount of investment!

That investment comes by way of R&D, tooling, inventory, marketing and of course human resources. The reality is that for even small companies to develop and launch a TV advertised hero level product is going to cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to many millions of €$£.

Which is all well and good as long as that investment pays back of course. The issue though is one of focus and habit. By focusing on the involved and exhausting new product development process we lose focus on other existing products. And by falling into the habit of ongoing development and a ‘chuck it at the wall and see if it sticks’ approach we perpetuate the lack of focus on existing products.

So what you may ask. Well here’s the issue with our obsession with new product development in the toy industry – new products are not where the majority of sales or profit are! Let’s go over that again – despite the huge focus/effort/investment in new toys they do not (overall) make up much more than 1/3 of total sales, and they certainly make up a lot less than 1/3 of profit due to the investment needed – in fact it would be very surprising if they accounted for more than 20% of total toy industry profits!

Don’t believe it? Check out this press release from the highly regarded British Toy And Hobby Association and NPD group http://www.toynews-online.biz/news/read/british-toy-market-sees-best-performance-in-four-years-in-2014/043791

Note the part where it says that newly launched products made up 37% of toy sales in 2014 in the UK, up 16% from 2013.

So despite that large increase, existing or carry forward products made up 63% of the total market in terms of sales, and it would be surprising if that 63% didn’t make up at least three quarters or more of all profit!

Our industry has complete ‘shiny object syndrome’ where we see new risky product launches as a better bet than commercially proven products.

The usual counter argument to that is that there is pressure from retail for innovation,and that product sales start to tail off after the first year in most cases/over time.

Yet this is actually illogical – we are lucky to have a new consumer base every 3 years or so due to the ageing process – kids come into core toy age c. 4-7, and move through it and on to other product categories, but as they do that a new consumer generation comes through. So we can’t actually saturate sales unlike in some other markets.

Yes there are technological drivers of new product development, and yes there is new opportunity via development, but sometimes we need to focus on what we already have and work out how to give it a bigger push in order to maintain business/products we already have.

P.S. Spoiler alert, the following is blatant sales spiel, designed to help toy companies reduce their risk of relying on faith, gut feel and luck! One of the proven ways to deliver carry forward performance on toy products is to actually  put them somewhere near your target consumer before you launch them! It’s called consumer research, and toy companies could benefit from doing more of it in many cases!

Our sister company Kids Brand Insight runs a low cost, highest quality research service to test toys with kids called KIDSPLAYTEST™. For more information, please click here: http://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/kidsplaytest/

The next KIDSPLAYTEST™ runs at the end of March in the UK, and at the time of writing we have 2 slots left. For more details/to book in just click the weblink above.

KIDSPLAYTEST™ has a 100% recommission record i.e. every single company who has used the service has come back & used it again…must be a reason why!