NEWS

Exclusive: Reboot 2020 – a fresh start for the toy trade

Published on: 8th July 2020

Toy World considers what the short-term future of toy retail might look like, and the biggest opportunities for Q3 and 4, in the July Reboot 2020 feature.

Reboot 2020 child looking in toy shopAll non-essential retailers across the UK are now allowed to reopen their doors, even if a fair few have chosen not to do so, but now comes the next big challenge – how to entice shoppers back to stores.

There is plenty to be hopeful about as we enter the second half of the year and count down to the all-important festive selling season. While many non-essential categories have struggled to match traditional sales during lockdown, the UK toy market has proved remarkably resilient. According to NPD, the value of UK toy sales rose by 17% in the two months from the beginning of lockdown compared with the same period last year, while Games & Puzzles saw a +43% uptick in sales between 1st January and 23rd May, compared with the same period in 2019. Outdoor Toy sales, meanwhile, rose +31% in the same period, and Building Sets jumped +17%. Meanwhile, as outlined in Rory Partis’ article on pages 26-27 of the July issue of Toy World (which you can read here), the UK toy market is currently +7% in value YTD versus the same period in 2019.

However, it’s undeniable that the pandemic and resulting lockdown have changed the face of retail, at least in the short term, maybe forever. With stores temporarily shuttered for so long, consumers were forced to look online for the products they needed and wanted, resulting in a huge shift to online shopping. Research by Retail Economics and Squire Patton Boggs shows that 45% of consumers bought items online that they would normally have bought in store for the first time during the pandemic, and this behaviour is expected to stick, even as the lockdown eases. This doesn’t mean brick & mortar is dead, but it would appear that the future of retail will rely far more heavily than before on an omni-channel approach designed to reach consumers wherever this may be. Many toy retailers are already successfully embracing this strategy.

In-store, Covid-19 has changed the way we shop. Last year, there was much talk about experiential retail saving the high street, the need for shops to offer something unforgettable and unique alongside the baseline ‘get the thing you want and then leave’ approach. Best laid plans and all that; now we’re being encouraged not to touch things if we can help it. This needn’t mean shopping must become a chore though.

In this article, Toy World shines a light on how suppliers can support their retail partners and how retailers can make best use of an omni-channel strategy. We also analyse how the pandemic has changed the marketing game, the impact of Covid-19 on where consumers want to shop, and how differences in expendable income may affect spending habits in the run-up to Christmas.

To read the full, in-depth Reboot 2020 piece, which was published in the July issue, click here.

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