Will Santa be bringing as many toys this holiday?
Walmart this year introduced an online focus group of kids to rate toys, rolled out an interactive tool that lets kids and parents try out toys virtually and came up with a “hottest toys” list influenced by pandemic-related behavior shifts.
“Toys play a critical role in families’ lives as they spend more time at home and parents seek ways to keep kids engaged with learning-based play,” said Steve Ronchetto, Walmart’s VP of toys, in a statement.
Walmart’s “hottest toys” list includes some suited to kids spending “more time at home” as well as those promising “limitless outdoor play” and to keep kids “busy and engaged for hours without a screen.”
Building on efforts in recent years, the retailer launched an online tool, Walmart Wonder Lab, to enable kids to “unbox, test and play with this holiday season’s hottest toys without leaving home.”
The industry’s big three toy sellers are Walmart, Target and Amazon.com, the latter recently agreeing to provide fulfillment for toysrus.com.
Toys have seen strong momentum with kids confined to their homes amid lockdown measures. The NPD Group reported toy sales in the U.S. climbed 16 percent in the first half, led by online purchases. The strongest global gains were in games and puzzles, up 37 percent; outdoor & sports toys, 27 percent; building sets, 14 percent; and arts & crafts, 11 percent. The top toy property was Disney Frozen, followed by Star Wars, Little Tikes, Barbie and Lego Star Wars.
Conservative inventory planning, however, may inhibit gains. Mattel and Hasbro reported strong POS growth in the second quarter, but cautious steps by stores to replenish stocks and subsequent shortages restrained wholesale gains.
Innovation may spark holiday selling. Fisher Price recently introduced a “My Home Office” playset featuring a pretend laptop, headset and a to-go coffee cup to align with the work-from-home trend.
Retail sales may also benefit from parents wanting to make their kids happy amid 2020’s disruption. Speaking to CNBC, Brad Bedwell, Walmart’s merchandising director of preschool toys and omni merchandising, said, “This is really a category that can spark some joy for our customers and kind of deliver on what makes staying at home fun.”
- Walmart Unveils the Hottest Toys of the 2020 Holiday Season with its Top-Rated by Kids Toy List – Walmart
- Walmart Wonder Lab
- Walmart’s Top Rated Toys – Walmart
- Walmart unveils 2020 hot toys list for holidays. Star Wars, Frozen 2, L.O.L. Surprise, Paw Patrol among top gifts. – USA Today
- The NPD Group Reports on First Half 2020 Global Toy Industry Sales – The NPD Group
- Toys Are Selling, but Mattel and Hasbro Aren’t Cashing In – The Wall Street Journal
- Mattel, Inc. (MAT) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – Seeking Alpha
- Hasbro (HAS) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Fisher-Price Introduces New “Mini-Me” and Role-Play Toys Inspired by Grown-Up Activities; Launches Work-From-Home Set for Preschoolers – Mattel
- Walmart gets creative, goes virtual as it plans for holiday toy shopping – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are you more optimistic or pessimistic that the toy category will see gains this holiday selling season? What factors appear to be working for and against the category? What adjustments may be necessary?