Understanding Children’s Toy Product Preferences – Hierarchies Of Toy Appeal
One of the most immediately apparent insights our clients get when we conduct focus groups/play-testing research with kids and the client’s toy products is the hierarchy of product appeal by type of product. In other words, the client quickly finds out if the product category/categories they are active in and their individual products are at the top of the child’s wish list, in the middle or perish the thought lower down!
The reason why this is an important realisation is because understanding the level of appeal is the first step on the road to truly understanding the purchase dynamic for a particular toy or game product. To illustrate this point – let’s look at a product or brand which we know sells very well, yet the comparative level of appeal seems low among kids bearing in mind the level of sales success enjoyed. In this instance we can begin to explore other motivators for purchase. These can include a parentally driven purchase – most likely with more worthy & educationally slanted toys i.e. science kits, board games etc.; a false purchase premise i.e. presumption by the adult purchasing that the child will want/like it, when in actual fact they’d much rather have something else; compromise purchase where the child wants something featuring a particular brand, but the adult/parent won’t purchase the product category that the child wants, but will buy something else still featuring the brand…and there are several other potential purchase drivers.
The major point though is that only by first understanding how cool, how appealing and how aspirational a product or brand is to the target consumer can we begin to identify the other factors in the purchase dynamic.
We’ve found recently that whereas video games consoles were Number 1 going back some years, today kids LOVE tablets. They love kid targeted tablets and they love the full spec versions theoretically targeted at adults.
Interestingly though, if we look at the average child’s Christmas gifts, there will normally be a headline item which the child REALLY wants like a tablet, but there will also be numerous other presents including some of those given more to satisfy the parents need to feel good for giving worthy presents than for the satisfaction of the child’s burning desire for the coolest toys.
So all this leads to the critical question – do you know where your product fits in the toy product preference hierarchy for most kids? If not, perhaps you ought to find out!