Exclusive: Baby boom – the infant toy market

Published on: 9th June 2021

Rachael Simpson-Jones asks what goes into creating a leading infant brand, and the importance of gift-ability when it comes to securing sales.

With analysts predicting something of a post-pandemic baby boom, there’s arguably never been a better time for retailers to beef up their infant toy ranges. Since September, the number of people booking their first antenatal appointment has gone up by nearly 7% on the previous year. Gifting accounts for a substantial proportion of the sales of infant toys, and with pre-birth celebratory events now very much an unmissable part of the pregnancy journey, consumers are buying more than ever before.

“There are so many gifting opportunities now when it comes to pregnancy and babies,” says Mark Standen of Rainbow Designs. “From gender reveal parties and baby showers to celebrating the arrival, naming days and first year celebrations, there is always an occasion that requires a gift.”

David Allan of Toynamics UK & Ireland, says that when it comes to toys for babies, trust lies at the heart of purchasing decisions. Consumers want to see brand names they know on products that are safe, age-appropriate, and attractively priced, all qualities that make Toynamics’ Skip Hop and Hape collections particularly popular.

Juratoys told us it has seen a rise in sales of products displayed in gift boxes, which it is putting down to increasing numbers of baby showers, while Clementoni is careful to produce beautiful packaging containing products in neutral colourways that offer a complementary fit with any décor. In the era of social media, with our lives photographed and shared more than ever before, aesthetically pleasing toys that look good in a variety of settings once out of the box will always be welcome.

These factors join developmental benefits, opportunities for parent-child interaction and added play value, sometimes in the form of new technologies, as key considerations when designing infant toys.

Kelly Philp, Mattel UK’s marketing director, sums up the infant toy sector: “Playtime is essential for learning and development, with each fun-filled milestone a steppingstone to new discoveries and new skills as children begin to explore the world around them.”

Toy World shines the spotlight on the latest introductions to the market, as well as how retailers can maximise sales by taking advantage of the many striking display options available to them.

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