Argos takes steps to reinvigorate the power of play

Published on: 14th July 2023

To celebrate the retailer’s 50th Birthday, new research commissioned by Argos has revealed how children’s play has transformed over the last half a decade.

The research uncovered the retailer’s – and its iconic catalogue’s – prominent role in inspiring the nation’s passion for play, with 78% stating they have circled and bought a toy from Argos in their lifetime – the equivalent of 52m toys. Creative toys such as sewing or painting kits, role-play toys like a doctors and nurses kits and sports equipment all sparked lifelong passions or interests.

“Argos has been passionate about play since we opened our first store in 1973 – eight in ten people in the UK have received a toy from Argos in their lifetime. Fifty years later, our ambition to champion the power of play remains just as strong,” commented Fay Williams, head of Toy Buying for Argos.

To help children rediscover their love for play and imagination, Argos launched a giveaway of £20,000 worth of toys in celebration of its 50th anniversary. From 6th – 13th July, customers could enter the competition to receive a £20 Argos voucher to buy a toy for themselves or their children.

“Being at the forefront of children’s toys for 50 years has shown us that the way we play as kids has a big impact on our adult life,” added Fay. “It’s wonderful to know that role-playing doctors and nurses using one of our playsets or cooking up a storm in a toy kitchen might spark a passion that lasts a lifetime. That’s why we’re so proud of our biggest-ever toy giveaway and reigniting a life-long love of play in the next generation.”

Joining forces with Argos, Comic Relief will also split a donation of £10,000 between two of its key projects – Feeding Britain and The Bread and Butter Thing, to provide toys to families in need of support.

Argos has teamed up with McFly drummer Harry Judd, who attributes playing with musical toys for inspiring his love of music and his career since 2003. Harry said: “I distinctly remember some of the first toys I was given as a child being musical toys and I absolutely loved them. Simple instruments like tambourines and shakers, they made this amazing sound and definitely sparked my love of music – as I grew up the toys just got bigger. It’s great that having my own children has brought back that sense of play and imagination; it’s lovely to be able to connect with them, whilst watching them learn and grow”.

The survey canvassed 1,000 parents of Gen Z kids and found that many children had never heard of popular games and pastimes from their childhoods, such as chess, conkers, leapfrog and piggy in the middle. The research revealed that children spend much of their time playing with technology, eating into time spent playing outside. Parents said they hear the words ‘I’m bored’ an average of seven times a week, with around a quarter admitting that their children don’t use their imagination as much as they themselves did when they were young. 17% say that their offspring’s attention span is too short for some of the games they used to play as a child.


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