Exclusive: On the plush side – the soft toy category

Published on: 16th August 2021

Sam Giltrow speaks to suppliers and retailers to find out all the latest about the soft toy category.

After a year of uncertainty and missing contact with loved ones, the comfort, companionship and cuddle factor that a soft toy can bring has never been more important.

“It’s a product that offers consumers more than just a toy, as plush toys often give someone an emotional or sentimental attachment that you don’t necessarily get with some other toy categories,” said Lauren Shipman, group brand & marketing director at Posh Paws. “Children can play with a soft toy by themselves and with other toys, but will also cuddle up and sleep with it, as well as carrying it around with them everywhere they go. Soft toys are very comforting for children, and you’ll often see that they are a child’s first best friend.”

Sam caught up with suppliers including Zara Grindrod of Rainbow Designs, Phil Hooper of Spin Master and Jonny Swallow of Ty UK, to hear about the latest developments in the sector, and find out how suppliers maintained sales of such a tactile product over the lockdown period.

We look at Squishmallows – one of the major success stories in the plush sector in recent years, with the brand on track to reach the incredible milestone of 100m global sales in the coming months, and at licensed plush which continues to sell well, with evergreen properties such as Harry Potter, Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol competing with hot licences such as The Child from Disney’s The Mandalorian for shelf space.

We find out what retailers such as The Old Railway Garden Centre in Brecon, Toy Barnhaus and Learning Express have seen success with and also highlight a couple of Feature Plush ranges that have caught our eye; Vivid’s Animagic gorilla mother and baby Tiki & Toko, and Moose’s new Scruff-a-Luvs Cutie Cuts.

Phil Hooper, commercial director UK at Spin Master believes plush toys remain popular because they are timeless and loved by both gift givers and receivers. “Plush toys are ageless. They are often the first toy you receive as a baby and stay with you throughout your childhood and into your tweens. Plush toys are the forever friend that bring comfort and companionship no matter your age.”

To read the full article, which appeared in the August edition of Toy World, click here.


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