The announcement of the DreamToys Top 12 Toys for Christmas 2017 has traditionally been an event for the industry to celebrate (if your toy line is selected of course). With 2017’s event coinciding with the release of October’s NPD figures however, the cause for optimism was perhaps somewhat dampened.
With the fall in value sales said to exceed the -2% year-on-year decline already posted for the January to September period, retailers and manufacturers alike are rightly concerned going into the all-important final push before Christmas. The reasons for this are manifold of course, ranging from economic uncertainty and the difficulties Toys R Us are facing, to weather patterns and the added emphasis placed on Halloween by grocers in 2017.
Perhaps Dream Toys itself though provides an interesting angle. Just one of the Top 12 is priced under £10, despite the continued rise of collectable brands in 2017, has surely been a major industry talking point. Whilst big ticket items are not regular purchases prior to September – has the increased emphasis on Collectable brands diminished the appetite for the higher priced items? If the must-have brand is under £10, why pay more for a potentially less-desirable item? Add into the mix the much-publicised release of the Nintendo Switch earlier this year. Given the family friendly nature of the console and its titles, it is certainly not a huge leap to surmise that this has consumed some demand for higher priced toy lines.
This of course all becomes reversed, to an extent, once Christmas purchases begin. And herein lies an even bigger question. Have Christmas purchases truly begun? Sales have become later and later in recent years, and there is reason to believe that this trend will continue. Given the current trading conditions however, it seems unlikely as things stand that there will be enough time to recover the year-on-year position.