4 Ways That Kids & Toys Have Changed In 15 Years

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4 Ways That Kids & Toys Have Changed In 15 Years

We recently pitched our services to a potential new client. One of the questions we were asked was how things have changed over time. In our last article we looked at how kids entertainment content has changed, this article looks at how kids and toys have changed over time.

Here’s 4 things that have changed:

1. Input Overload – looking back 15 years, the internet was in its infancy in terms of mass adoption, there were no tablets/smart phones as we know them today. For sure we still had video game consoles, hand held gaming, TV etc., but there wasn’t the same immediacy and breadth of entertainment, not the same level of instancy and accessibility. Children today can literally have at their finger tips (via tablets) hundreds of hours of entertainment content/apps/games etc.

The perhaps obvious implication of this is that kids have/allocate less time to playing with toys in the first instance…at least until tablet time is banned/restricted/runs out – at which point kids are just as likely to play with toys as in the past.

2. Toy Stockpilingwe have written at length about the phenomenon of toy stockpiling, but to recap. The retail price-points of today are actually very similar to those of 15 years ago, despite significant inflation in between – using a quick calculation, the combined inflation rate over the last 15 years has been c. 54% in the UK and 43% in the USA. Toys, in general, are therefore significantly cheaper in real terms/disposable income than they were.

Toys are now an economical almost ‘throwaway’ gift. 15 years ago a toy was much more likely to have been a primary number one must have present, whereas now they are increasingly used as stocking fillers. Children today do not view their toys as being so integral to their daily experience/lifestyles as they did 15 years ago based on our research with thousands of children throughout the period, but that doesn’t mean they own any less of them.

In fact, we recently conducted a project of accompanied home visits with children and their parents to look at their toys. In most cases, the amount of toys in the child’s bedroom was really astonishing, in some cases the toys were literally flooding the rooms and threatening to spread out beyond the storage capacity of the toy chests, cupboards, wardrobes and under bed spaces available!

3. Video/Online vs Traditional TV & Movie – the aforementioned explosion in media and content delivery platforms has given birth to new behemothic global toy brands – Mattel’s extraordinary mould breaking success with Monster High is just one example of the past few years. 15 years ago, thus type of edgy property, seemingly targeting an older age demographic than traditional toys could have been seen as too risky, too edgy, not formulaic enough to ensure success in terms of TV programming & distribution. Today’s media landscape allowed for a completely different launch paradigm. Furthermore, the explosion of virtual world/app driven toyetic brands of the last few years again has made a profound impact on the toy industry.

4. Lego – from 50% to 100% perfect – when we first discussed the Lego brand with children and parents back in the late ’90s, Lego had 50% of the consumer formula for success – parents absolutely loved Lego at that time. Kids however sometimes quite liked it in terms of an activity, but it was not perceived as a ‘cool’ brand by the children we talked to back then.

Fast forward 15 years, and via some truly magnificent brand management by way of clever use of licensing, brand extension and of course fundamentally brilliant product, and Lego has the ‘holy grail’ of being loved by parents, and being loved/seen as cool by kids.

In our next article, we’ll look at what hasn’t changed in 15 years.

P.S. If you’d like to know more about how market research with children can help your business/boost your brands, feel free to drop us a line. Alternatively, to view KIDSPLAYTEST™, our entry level service to test your products or content with kids, click here for more details: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/kidsplaytest/

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