Online Toys in the United States
In the US, the online toy category has grown by over 55% in the past two years to $17 billion, while in key European markets online sales have surpassed in-store sales. In the United States, Toys r Us has noted that " that more than 60 percent of the company’s customers visit its website before deciding to go to an actual store", showing that Toys sales both online and off are being driven by digital channels.
Another key trend is the move of shopping events from in store locations to the internet, driving the importance for Toy brands to be well represented online. In the past, Black Friday was the world’s biggest sales event, pulling customers into stores with “door buster” deals. In recent years, Black Friday has been surpassed by Cyber Monday, Singles Day, Prime Day, and other online-driven events. This greatly increases the likely hood that parents will be buying toys online, and so increases the pressure on brands to have a strong eCommerce strategy.
These intense holiday sales cycles often put immense strain on Toy company’s supply chains, resulting in a high level of out of stock items. Brand managers struggle to keep up with the shipment gaps, often times leaving shoppers frustrated that they cannot find the perfect gift. Product availability is amongst the most important metrics, in both the online and offline channels, given the direct impact of lost sales if a product is out-of-stock. Near-constant tracking of online availability is a requirement in the Toy market.
Online Toys in EMEA
In 2017 more than €40 billion worth of toys and games will be sold across Europe.
The main sales channel in the continent is the retail toy trade, including toyshops, which hold a market share of roughly 35 %, followed closely by the ecommerce channel with a 32% share and supermarkets with 14 %.
Like everywhere else in the world, European toy sales via the Internet are growing significantly, and online is likely to become the largest channel this year.
The five leading toy markets in the EU are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The UK toy market saw a 5.9% increase in sales in 2015, helping to keep it in the top spot as the largest toy market in Europe. The UK toy industry is now valued at £3.2 billion, according to The NPD Group, an increase of £150 million year-on-year.
A continuing cycle of new products (NPD) is a feature of the sector, with more than 58,000 new toys being launched in 2015 in the UK alone, equating to 31% of toy sales in the country. Sales and NPD are closely correlated with film merchandising, which had a vintage year in 2015 with Minions, Avengers, Jurassic World and Star Wars all playing their part.