11/12/2017  -  Store traffic and purchases by consumers in the toy aisles of the three majors - Wal-Mart, Target and ToysRUs  - haver been extremely strong in October. Store managers report traffic up by 11% and purchases up by 14%.
 
10/01/2017 - The consensus from the side of national buyers at 28 key retailers in 17 countries is that two dolls will sweep the board this fourth quarter - Mattel's Enchantimals and MGA Entertainment's LOL
 
08/08/2017 - American Girl, whilst still struggling in its own stores, is making progress at mass retail. The brand is getting traction both at Amazon in the U.S. and in Europe but is also beginning to do significantly better at ToysRUs.
 
 
06/26/2017 - Contrary to Disney's expectation that Toys To Life would flame out, the key retailers continue their commitment to the category. In addition, Tomy has just launched its own entry into the field - the LightSeeekers. Ubisoft, too, has announced its intention to hit the space next year with its Starllink range.
 
05/28/2017 - The Fidget Spinner phenomenon is unlikely to last more than twelve months but it will impact the toy space during this time. National buyers estimate the likely retail sales value of the category to clock in somehwere around $300 million to $500 million this year. The inventory shortages now experienced at all major retailers are likely to be temporary since hundreds of Chinese factories are producing the gizmo right now and very considerable quantities are now either afloat or are on loading docks today. This is likely to result in oversupply come end of June and from there on you can expect a race to the price bottom.
 
04/04/2017 - Two things about Toys To Life. One is that the retailers continue to support the category is their shelf space devoted to Toys To Life is anything to go by. Secondly, Amiibo is clearly the market leader followed by Lego Dimensions.
 
03/04/2017 - Mattel's first FUHU products - The Nabi and the Nabi Jr Educational tablets - are doing extremely well at both TRU and Amazon. They are not yet at WMT or TGT since both still have a lot of inventory dating to before Mattel acquired the company.

 

01/19/2017

Hatchimals inventories are coming under control. All majors except for Target report that they have enough product to carry them through the next couple of days. The quality issue, too, appears to be improving.

 

12/23/2017 

Contrary to what I said below, Disney Infinity is still very much a factor. Obviously, Disney unloaded an incredible amount of inventory before they pulled the plug. The average discount from regular pricing is more than 70% and Infinity is as a consequence still the market leader with an estimate 54% market share. 

 

11/1/2016 

Toys To Life Infinity is rapidly disappearing from the shelves of the major toy retailers. The Skylanders have returned to the top position on the strength of their just released Imaginators which are moving very well. Lego Dimension is the runner-up at some distance, followed by Amiibo. Playmation is slowly ceasing to be a factor.

 

10/8/2016 

All they key retailers I spoke to, in the U.S. and in Europe, confirm that they are not going to be affected by the Hanjin issue to any great degree. They were aware of Hanjin's problems well before these became public and took appropriate measures to safeguard their fourth quarter shipments. However, this does not necessarily apply to all vendors to these retailers. Smaller vendors who themselves arrange to bring in their fourth quarter inventory could be caught by this and this, in turn, will affect their shipments to the retailers.  

 

9/9/2016 

I have now revised my U.S. Toy Market estimates for 2016 based on Retailer Panel metrics and national buyers feedback. This is how the data looks for the full year:

 

Category

Retail Sales 2015

US$ mill

Retail Sales 2016

US$ mill

Growth

%

Traditional Toys

24550

26310

7.2

Toys To Life

1385

1880

35.7

Hobby and Games Channel

1190

1400

17.6

Grand Total

27125

29590

9.1

 

 

Please note that my Traditional Toy market figure is scaled up to 100%, not 80% as NPD does. Also, the total Toys To Life sales estimate has been reduced by 15% to take out the non-toy sales [platform and game].

 

8/3/2016 - Klosters Retailer Panel measurements indicate that the toy market in the U.S. is growing at a 9.1% clip. This includes Toys To Life [+30%] and Game and Hobby Channel Sales [+27.6%]. The total U.S. Toy Market including traditional toys [which are growing at at 7% clip], scaled up to 100%, is estimated to clock in at $29,590 million this year.

7/7/2016 - All indicators are that the Star Trek movie scheduled for release on 7/22 is going to be very successful. National buyers tell me that toy sales today - fifteen days before release - are running in unit terms about 20% ahead of what was the case for the last movie [released on 5/16/2014] and nearly 40% ahead of the movie before that - released on 5/8/2009

6/2/2016 - Cra-Z-Art's jewelry kits sold to the majors were just found to contain ten times the amount of lead permissible under law and a major recall is under way. This is somewhat ironic since the owner of Cra-Z-Art, Larry Rosen, is the same individual implicated in the recall of Magnetix craft kits back in 2006. Magnetix had had comsumer complaints since 2004 and a child died in 2005 after having ingested a Magentix component. Mr. Rosen sold the company that owned Magnetix, RoseArt, to the unsuspecting Bertrands of Mega Brands in 2006. Shortly thereafter, the thing hit the fan big time and eventually nearly brought Mega Brands to its knees. I guess that the Bertrands must now be experiencing a good dose of "Schadenfreude". 

 

5/6/2016 - The Disney Princess transition from Mattel to Hasbro is hitting a few speedbumps.  One is that both Princess ranges are still for sale next to each other at ToysRUs US as well as at most retailers throughout Europe. Amazon in the U.S. as well in Europe are also offering both ranges. The second is that Mattel's Disney Princess is outselling Hasbro's at an estimated rate of 3:1. The third is that at least in the U.S. Disney Princess has lost massive shelf space. At the end of April last year, Mattel's Princess had nearly double the shelf space compared to what Mattel's AND Hasbro's Disney Princess occupy now.

 

4/24/2016 - Toys to Life continue to do very well but their market shares are changing dramatically. According to the Klosters Retailer Panel, Disney's Infinity has now more than half of the U.S. market. The Skylanders, Amiibo and Lego Dimension are neck-to-neck and Playmation is in the low single digits.

 

3/10/2016 - Three national toy buyers at top retailers have given me their assessment of what they saw at Toy Fair. They characterized Mattel's offering as very innovative; that of Hasbro a solid continuation but nothing startling; and Spin Master's as a considerable improvement over what they had seen in the past. Leapfrog was not there at all. VTech showed a very interesting and creative range of new ELP toys. 

2/1/2016 - Hasbro has released its first batch of Disney Princess and the range is available at all three majors. However, Mattel's Disney Princess continues to be there as well with the exception of Target where the range is on clearance. Shelf space for both Princesses has been sharply reduced compared to a year ago whereas Barbie has been sharply ramped up.  

 

12/30/2015 - Star Wars toys are outselling Frozen by about 30%. In the specific case of Hasbro's Action Figures, the estimate is at wholesale worldwide $650 million in the first twelve months from October 1, 2015. 

 

11/21/2015 Hello Barbie is now available at all four majors and is doing incredibly well - to the point where all Wal-Mart inventory is sold out. 

 

10/2/2015 - Hello Barbie, just announced for release very late October - is rated very highly bu the national buyers. Two of the three majors expect it to be in the top ten best-selling SKUs in the fourth quarter. One thinks that it could be the best selling SKU period. 

 

9/1/2015 - Following the Renminbi devaluation of 4.4% versus the Dollar there is now intensive haggling between the U.S. retailers and their Chinese manufacturers. Basically, the U.S. retailers want a 4.4% reduction in pricing. The Chinese manufacturers I spoke to take a very simplistic stance to this – they say the “if our contract pricing is in Dollars, it will not change, but if we quoted you Renminbi prices, we will stick with the now cheaper prices.”

 

Basically, their attitude is that the American retailers cannot have their cake and eat it. If they insisted on Dollar prices to insulate them from the continuous Renminbi value increases versus the Dollar that have gone on over the past years, this is what they agreed to and this is what they are going to live with. If they agreed to Renminbi prices, then there is no change and the retailers will benefit from the devaluation. 

 

8/10/2015 - The Descendants fashion doll range is now #1 at TRU - better than Barbie, Monsters, Frozen etc. It is clearly positioned against Monsters and is located in the fashion doll aisle net to them. 

 

7/8/2014 - Toy retail sales continued to grow at a good clip in June - up 4% in the U.S. and 3% internationally.

 

6/4/2015 - May ended on a strong note as far as the toy space is concerned. Growth for the month is estimated at 4% which is very much better than what you had a year ago. 

 

5/19/2015 The first half of May continued to be very strong in the toy space and this not only for brick-and-mortar but also, unlike April, also for online. Both are expected to be about 4% better than May last year. 

 

4/8/2015 Mass retailers are confirming their first
quarter estimates of +2% for the toy category. Store
traffic for Easter is brisk and retailers estimate sales
this year will be 3% up this year.

 

 

3/10/2015 - In January, the U.S. toy market was soft with estimated growth at about 1%. February was again very much better with growth estimated at about 2% - to 3% based on Klosters Retailer Panel metrics.  

 

2/12/2015 Imports through the West Coast ports, particularly at Los Angeles/LongBeach, were down last month by about a quarter due to the increasing congestion caused by the docker slowdown. This now has two consequences. One is that charter rates are going up significantly. The second is that - since many importers began rerouting their shipments to East Coast ports, there is now also congestion building there. The result is very clear looking at toy shelves at the major retailers. There are a lot of top SKUs missing and there is a lot of junk on end caps because both manufacturers as well as retailers have begun to scrape the bottom of the barrel in their efforts to keep shelves utilized. 

 

12/30/2014

  • The docker disruptions at the major West Coast 
    ports continue and there is no end in sight. This 
    clearly affected most toy categories by middle of December as demonstrated by the changes in 
    shelf space at Target, ToysRUs and Wal-Mart
    U.S.  between 11/22 and 12/13
    

 

Category

11/22/14

12/13/14 

Barbie
  1.  

  1.  

Other Fashion Dolls
  1.  

  1.  

Action Figures
  1.  

  1.  

Hybrids
  1.  

  1.  

ELP
  1.  

  1.  

BoomCo/Nerf
  1.  

  1.  

Mega
  1.  

  1.  

Other Construction
  1.  

  1.  

 

 

11/1/2014 - The Klosters Toy Newsletter for November has been published. You can find it on this website - last two pages - or by going to http://www.researchandmarkets.com/, my European-based publishers. When at their website, type Toy Newsletter into their search bar

 

10/8/2014 - Amazon's Fire HD Kids Edition tablet, scheduled for release on 10/21 at a price of $149, is already very strong at pre-order and in fact the best seller of all kids' tablets sold by the company.  

 

9/7/2014 - TMNT continues to hold the#1 position in the Action Figure toy category at the big four - Amazon, TGT, TRU and WMT

 

8/22/2014 - As of Sunday last week, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became the #1 Action Figure in terms of sales at the four major toy retailers - Amazon, Target, ToysRUs and Wal-Mart. 

 

7/10/2014 - The pickup in toy sales continued throughout June and now stands for the month at about +3%. Europe continues to grow at a faster pace – Northern tier +5%, Southern tier +2%, Eastern tier +6%, overall plus 4%. Latin America is up 5% and Asia more than 6%. 

 

6/5/2014 - Wal-Mart’s toy space continues to slim down but it is still higher than 2013 and 2012. In the case of Target, it is the lowest since August last year and is the lowest for end May since 2008. However, both are resetting for Summer and this might be the reason

 

5/12/2014 - BoomCo, Mattel's answer to Nerf, is doing exceptionally well in the U.K. and my buyer contacts tell me that the brand has capturerd about one quarter of Nerf's business. BoomCo is expected to launch in the U.S. in July. 

 

4/5/2014 - In Consumer Reports’ latest survey released last week, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Publix, Costco and Sprouts earned the highest scores overall among 55 of the nation’s major grocery stores; Walmart, America’s largest grocer, landed at the bottom of the ratings, based on a survey of 27, 208 subscribers. This jives with the findings of the Klosters Retailer Panel whereby store management reported that consumer complaints skyrocketed by more than 124% in 2013. 

3/6/2014 - ToysRUs continues to lose out against Amazon both in terms of assortment and pricing. On Mary 1, TRU only carried twenty of Amazon's top thirty toys. Of the twenty they had, TRU was nearly a quarter more expensive.

 

2/10/2014 - All retailers in my retailer panel reported very low toy sales in January 2014 in comparison to January 2013 - which was not much chop to begin. On this basis I am predicting a decline in toy sales for January 2014 compared to 2013 of about 5%.

 

1/8/2014

If there was a surprise product in the toy space in 2013 it was the Rainbow Loom by Choon's Design LLC. Wherever it is for sale the product does extremely well. You can find it at Michaels, Amazon, and vast numbers of toy specialty stores such as Learning Express and others. Target, Wal-Mart and ToysRUs do not carry it but they do sell competitive products mainly from Cra-Z-Art [of RoseArt's fame] - Shimmer'n Sparkle Fashion Maker and Cra-Z-Loom To judge from the website of Choon Design, there are also a host of knock-offs out there which even use the same trademark.

 

12/9/2013

The space devoted to toys by the three major retailers - WMT, TGT and TRU - is expected to decline next year. WMT plans to allocate more space to Consumer Electronics and Target to Baby Articles, both at the expense of toys. TRU is different - their continued roll-out of their side-by-side stores will automatically reduce toy space overall. The regular store has an allocation of about 60% to toys whereas side-by-side stores only have 40%.

 

11/19/2013

Wal-Mart continues to reduce toy space. This is how it looked like for Target and Wal-Mart at the time frame over the past seven years as per my retailer panel:

 

 

 

10/7/2013

The brass of ToysRUs is betting big that the Skylanders Swap Force, scheduled for release on October 13, will be the top toy of this Christmas.

 

9/2/2013 - Two weeks after the launch of Infinity, Skylanders are outselling Disney's brand at a rate of about 10:1. One problem is that  only 16% of the kids aged 6 to 12 are aware of Infinity whereas about 100% are familiar with the Skylanders

 

7/7/2013 - Target, ToysRUs and Wal-Mart will be starting the reset for fourth quarter late in July. I understand from the national buyers that major changes in the space allocation for toys overall and within the individual toy categories are being implemented

 

5/22/2013 - Monster Dolls of Mattel are now the # Fashion Doll at mass retail in the United States.

4/13/2013 - Some of my Chinese third-party manufacturing friends tell me that they have become aware of a recently initiated top-to-bottom review by Wal-Mart of its sourcing strategy. At issue, apparently, is the fact that more than 70% of Wal-Mart's sales are of Chinese-made products and this could become a liability in the event that the current fairly amicable political climate obtaining between the two countries - China and the United States - turns into something less friendly as a result of increasing stresses in the relationship. 

 

3/5/2013 - NPD just reported that "only 29 per cent of core gamers plan on buying a next-gen console". They added some caveats to this statement. One of them was that only about 15% of the 6000 people polled fell into the category of core gamers so that the sample really was only 887 individuals - hardly an impressive number. However, one of my clients - a very large publisher of video games - had carried out similar research at the end of last year after the very disappointing initial sales performance of the WII U. Their sample was considerably larger but it yielded approximately the same result - only about one-third of core gamers are expected to buy into the new consoles - whether these are the PS4 or the XBox 720 or, at that, the Wii U.



 

1/21/2013 - Mega Bloks is expected to bring out a new range of Halo sets before Easter. The national buyers are in fact quite complimentary about this tie-in which is the best selling of all of Mega's licenses - including Power Rangers, Skylanders, Barbie and World of Warcraft.

 

12/3/2012 - The Skylanders continue to do phenomenally well and now occupy the #1 position in the Action Figure category both here in the U.S. as well as in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

 

11/16/2012 - The sharp decline in toy sales first reported by leading European toy retailers is continuing into November. We are now looking at a minus figures of about 5% throughout Europe - Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece being much worse and Germany, Holland and the Scandinavian countries being in slight plus territory. 

 

9/15/2012 - The battle between Zynga and Electronic Arts is getting hotter. EA filed a copyright suit last month against Zynga, alleging that the game The Ville was a blatant copy of EA's game The Sims. Today, Zynga has filed three suits against EA. In summary, Zynga alleges that EA's copyright suit is frivilous, that it vastly overstates the case, and that EA illegally tried to stop any hirings by Zynga of EA personnel. 

 

8/29/2012 - The Angry Bird board game is now #1 at all three major retailers as well as at Amazon. 

 

5/25/2012 - There are major efforts under way at Hasbro to cut expenses. All trips are closely examined and standard purchases like computers are being denied. Marketing is being cut back.



3/27/2012 - Giochi Preziosi has announced that the TV series Monsuno will begin screening in Germany in April and the toy range will be released in September. Giochi Preziosi are the European licensees for the range; Jakks Pacific has the worldwide rights.  

2/115/2012 - For the full year of 2011 Germany's toy market grew by 7%. France was up 5%, Great Britain up 3%, Italy down 3% and Spain down 7% according to NPD,

12/1/2011 - The Germans are getting ready to buy for Christmas. 92% of all Germans between the ages of 14 and 65 years are planning to buy Christmas presents this year. The average expenditure is forecast at Euro 241 per person, down Duro 4 or about 2% from last year. However, 34% of them are planning to buy toys and their purchases are expected to be higher than last year by 1%.

11/21/2011 - The Swiss toy market, too, is growing  In the first nine months of this year, growth clocked in at 10%. Of particular popularity with girls were Playmobil's Princess Castle, the Cookie plush dog by Russ, and Barbie's Princess Charm School whereas boys went for the smart phone controlled i-Helicopter by Happy Cow and Lego's Ninja or Starwars sets.

11/17/2011 - The German toy market is growing. For the whole of 2011, it is expected to hit 2,273 million Euro, up from 2,498 million Euro in 2010.