Ann-Marie Edwards, Toys category manager at Very, details her five predictions for the festive shopping season ahead of the big day.
“At Very, the festive season – or ‘golden quarter’ – is one of the most important periods in our calendar and something we prepare for all year long,” writes Ann-Marie. “Despite the challenging economic conditions, toys continue to deliver growth at Very. We expect our peak period to be a bumper time for the category.”
Ann-Marie echoes sentiments the Toy World team has heard from other retailers in recent weeks: that even more consumers were starting to think about Christmas in October than the same time last year. The retailer even says some started their Christmas shopping as early as July.
Ann-Marie commented: “This year, we think more people than ever will start shopping early to make sure they can access everything they need as we look forward to the most normal Christmas for several years. Our Black Friday sale began on 1st November with a great selection of toys.”
Understandably, many consumers are watching the pennies this Christmas due to the UK’s cost of living crisis. To reflect adjusted spending power, Very says it has focussed more than ever on curating ‘a brilliant assortment of toys’ within its value price proposition and worked more closely with suppliers to secure the very best prices for its customers.
Going one step further, the retailer has also made price the primary way to filter toys when browsing, meaning customers can click straight through to a selection of toys within their budget. They can also access a range of flexible ways to pay using the Very Pay platform.
Very is also placing much stock in the Kidult category, which is showing no signs of slowing down. “During the pandemic, we saw the popularity of ‘kidult’ toys surge as adults sought comfort from the nostalgia of childhood favourites,” Ann-Marie explains. “That trend is here to stay, with more brands releasing new toys, games and collectibles aimed specifically at adults.”
In a nod to it’s growing importance as a category, Very has now launched a dedicated area for kidults on its website. Named ‘Big Kids‘, the section plays host to kidult favourites such as Lego, Star Wars, Marvel, Funko, Squishmallows and Fortnite across play patterns including construction, board games, jigsaws and collectibles. Lego features heavily in the retailer’s selection of particularly popular products, which includes the Lego Technic Ferrari and Lego Technic Maclaren, Disney Stitch Squishmallow, Lego Mandalorian helmet, Lego Yoda, and anime trading cards.
When asked about the longevity of the category, which rose to prominence during the pandemic, Ann-Marie told Toy World: “The kidult market has strong potential for future growth, driven by maximising higher price collectibles, range expansion in puzzles and trading cards, and new brands entering – or re-entering – the market.”
Very is also tipping Christmas classics and new favourites alike to be high on kids’ Christmas wishlists this year, highlighting the perennial best-seller Barbie alongside Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse and Little Live Pets – both of which have appeared on numerous top toy lists this year.