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              Leading industry journal covering the global toy and board game industry including practical 'how to' articles, research, industry reports and insights.

              17 April 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              Toy Biz: Post Pandemic – Permanent Vs Temporary Changes

              Many countries are now heading into extensions of lockdown right now. It’s almost beginning to feel like normality, albeit a normality we don’t want. Thoughts are again with those suffering from this horrendous virus and those directly in the front line fighting it.

              We’re now starting to see a lot of speculation about what can end the current situation, and then what kind of world are we going to emerge into afterwards.

              We’ll leave the first question to the medical experts, but for the second question, there have clearly been some massive changes. The question though is which changes will be permanent and which will pass leading back to how things were before in some instances. Here are our thoughts on which changes are likely to be permanent and which are likely to pass:

              PERMANENT CHANGES

              1. Accelerated virtual lifestyles – we’re just over twenty years into the ‘Internet Revolution’, which in the future will be looked on as being as big a change in human society, culture, work and living as the Industrial Revolution. The lockdowns which have reached across the world have vastly accelerated what has already been happening for the last twenty years – a move towards virtual over physical living. Entertainment and social interactions have been moving online throughout the current millennium, but this trend has rapidly accelerated during the pandemic and while this may regress slightly, human beings are above all creatures of habit.
              2. Accelerated shift from physical retail to online – this shift has again been ongoing for two decades by this point. The change here though is not just about changing behaviour on the consumer side. The major issue with retail is that many retailers were struggling anyway, and a period of paying rents and costs (even if some costs are reduced) combined with diminished revenue will be more than enough to push some well known retailers into insolvency. Alas there is just no way we are emerging from this crisis with all existing retailers in tact and profitably trading. Some non-food retailers are going to go out of business. Just was we lost a raft of retail customers for toys through the global financial crisis of the late noughties, now the current hard times will also take their toll. Food retailers who sell non-food items i.e. Grocery/hypermarché will come through this stronger and with increased market share which is a relief in some ways but a challenge in others as they aren’t always the easiest or most profitable accounts to trade with. Overall then, when physical retailers disappear, online appears to take up more of the slack than surviving physical retailers, and so the trend to online shopping will irreversibly accelerate coming through this pandemic crisis.
              3. Growth in board game playing – some categories of the toy market are really struggling right now, and others are flying. We’re seeing creative play, arts and crafts and science kits selling extremely well for this time of year in some markets. This though is more driven by everyone being stuck at home and parents wanting to gainfully occupy their kids. The big impact longer term is likely to be in board game playing, as hordes of dormant game players rediscover how much fun board games are and how socially connecting they are versus screen time. Research studies we have conducted across our 20+ years in the business have always highlighted the importance of word of mouth or played at a friends house for driving board games sales, but the bottom line is actually one step back from this – board game playing begets more board game playing. We predict that the board games category will reap the rewards of the current pandemic lockdown for a long time to come.

              TEMPORARY CHANGES

              The global toy market may be down in 2020 or at least not grow as much as was expected, although this is hard to call because through tough times normally parents will go out of their way to treat and gift children to make up for the difficult times. It certainly won’t be plain sailing to meet demand however the final numbers come in. There are a number of issues caused by the pandemic though that will inevitably fade away once this pandemic clears either via fading away as happens with so many viruses or because a vaccine is developed.

              1. International travel – we foresee a return to near normality within 6 months of the end of the pandemic because business is so global in this age, and there isn’t any way to move back from that as the world is so easily accessible online today. Even if any struggling airlines don’t make it through this tough time, the planes will still belong to someone and the airports will still be there so someone somehow will meet the upsurge in travel demand that is likely to come.
              2. Disrupted supply chain – clearly China is now manufacturing again after being locked down, but at the time of writing some other countries with significant and ever growing toy manufacturing hubs are locked down including India. The long term shift away from China for a proportion of toy manufacturing is going to carry on regardles of the pandemic due to systemic and economic factors.
              3. Movies and toys – the toy business has historically been up or down for a particular year based on the movie slate and success of otherwise of the latest big movie releases. While media and content consumption is ever more fragmented, movies will come back in the way they always have with big global cinematic releases driving $billions of toy sales.

              Aside from these predictions, we would also like to take this opportunity say thanks to all those on the frontline fighting this virus and to wish you all the best getting through this challenging period of time.

              Our Consulting company – Kids Brand Insight works with toy companies of all sizes on a Consultancy basis. We recently launched a new ‘packaged’ up Consultancy service to help toy and game companies grow. While we appreciate some companies are just trying to get through this time, we have found increased demand as those companies who are still enjoying success through the pandemic have still been seeking our help. Our Toy Co Growth Booster program is open to all sizes of companies. For more information: http://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/blog/toy-co-growth-booster-program/

              13 April 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              Kids Brand Insight Announces Toy Co Growth Booster Program

              Kids Brand Insight, our sister company have just announced a new Consultancy service package to assist toy and games companies around the world.

              The Toy Co Growth Booster Program continues the work of Kids Brand Insight for nearly a decade, during which the company has helped more than 100 toy & game companies grow around the world.

              The Consultancy service offers both a strategic element and a practical hands on executional element making sales introductions to key distributors around the world.

              For more information, just click here:

              02 April 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              Many Acquisitions Ahead In The Toy & Games Market

              As the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdowns roll on, we are starting to see a number of acquisitions in the market place, especially right now in the U.S.A with a number of high profile transactions taking place – for example:

              Of course it is normal to see a round of company acquisitions after the trade show season as toy company owners meet colleagues from around the world at multiple points. Any business owner looking to sell out is likely to start conversations with potential purchasers around the toy trade shows from October through to February.

              Right now though due to the unusual circumstances of the time, the usual round of company ownership changes is likely to be exacerbated and enhanced. The reason being that we are starting to see business across the board switch from positive and aggressive to conservative and self preservation mode. This leads to people not paying their bills when due, which in turn leads to cashflow problems for some companies.

              Times like these can cause even highly viable and well established companies to run out of financial resources to weather such complete disruption. Therefore quite a few long established companies with well known brands and products and with significant longevity in the marketplace will seek to sell up in order to cash out and take what they can. Some won’t manage to get a transaction done in time and may go out of business, leading to their assets being sold to other toy companies.

              Also, we need to consider that cashflow problems can roll on for some time in an industry with such a long sales cycle, and that typically the toughest time in a toy or games company cashflow cycle is towards the back end of the year. By this point the company has bankrolled the development, manufacturing and marketing of products shipping for Fall, along with having cashflowed overhead throughout the year until that point. That is of course in normal circumstances, and these are anything but normal circumstances right now. For some companies the outlook for the rest of the year looks good with record shipments of some types of toys and especially of games, puzzles and other toys to entertain and educate kids who are locked down at home. For others things are alas more uncertain.

              Either way, there will be company owners looking to or needing to sell up and move on with at least some degree of cash for all their years of hard work, and so we predict that toy company acquisitions are going to accelerate throughout the rest of this year as those companies with big cash reserves and with significant support from investors find themselves overwhelmed with the chance to buy up good companies struggling to find a way through these uncharted waters.

              Platitudes abound currently, especially those about determination and fighting through tough times, but they can really help people who are struggling, so we’d like to end with a few of our favourites:

              “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” Winston Churchill

              “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Robert H. Schuller

              “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” Billy Ocean ?!

              P.S. Our team have advised numerous toy companies and investment companies seeking either to buy or sell companies in the toy business. If you’re looking to buy or sell, please feel free to get in touch via our Toy Business Consultancy website and we’ll be happy to discuss our Consultancy services with you: www.KidsBrandInsight.com/services

              26 March 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              5 Tips For Toy & Game Companies To Manage Through The Covid-19 Pandemic

              These are tough times for people across the world as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy and threatens health and happiness regardless of national, religious or ethnic boundaries. The toy and game business is not immune to the current situation either.

              While there are clearly some opportunities during these tough times to supply toys and games to families who are looking for ways to entertain and occupy their kids while stuck at home, there are also a number of threats and challenges to our business. Not least of which is the impact on physical retail. The current situation is likely to accelerate the movement to online retail, which has both good and bad implications for toy and games companies. Supply chains are also at risk of disruption for the next few months at least, and so this situation need to be carefully managed.

              To try to help toy and games companies get through this period of time in tact and to be ready to go again when the world returns to normal we came up with the following list of tips and tactics:

              1. CASH IS KING – those businesses and business people who went through the global financial crisis just over a decade ago should have this glib but critically important statement clearly at the forefront. Because when time’s get tough some businesses fail and don’t pay their bills, and those who don’t fail are probably not paying their bills as quickly as they do in normal circumstances. We’re not suggesting massive cutbacks to preserve cash, but toy and games companies should definitely review their expenditure and credit control during this time to maintain cash as much as is feasibly possible.
              2. OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDS – there are countless toy and game companies that actually made great strides through the global financial crisis. Survival of the fittest applies during these times, but if you are one of the fittest you should be able to ride this out and end up stronger. In particular though, with large amounts of families housebound there has been and should continue to be an upsurge in demand for our products at this time. For sure we can and should be supplying free online materials for families to help them through this time, but we also have a moral imperative to ensure our businesses do well to preserve jobs and employment to reduce economic damage coming out of this horrendous pandemic! There should be no question of under selling or giving away the shop, the world needs what we do, and the more of us who are still in business throughout this time and when the pandemic is finally over the better that is for the world. JFK was quoted as stating that the Chinese characters for ‘Crisis’ contains two parts – one meaning danger and one meaning opportunity. The reality is that while the toy and game business is going to see change and disruption, there is significant demand right now, so we need to adapt to the current reality to take advantage of the opportunity and come through this stronger.
              3. MANAGING SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION – 2020 has already seen significant supply chain disruption with large parts of China effectively locked down and delays in factories getting back up and running in China. Now other manufacturing hubs are seeing lockdowns and delays. Our understanding from reading and listening to various medical health and virological experts is that after an initial lockdown period of a few months, things are likely to go back to a new normal of people being free to work and go out again, but with a few more restrictions than they may be used to. At that point we may get some resurgences from the virus up and until we see a mass produced vaccine which works deployed across the globe. Therefore, we expect some continued supply chain disruption, and recommend that diversifying supply chain across multiple geographies is a good thing for both the remainder of the Covid-19 pandemic and afterwards – if you can’t make ’em you can’t sell ’em!
              4. LOOK AFTER YOUR STAFF – this is a point which should not really need to be made, but your staff need your support right now. We’re all going through quite a traumatic experience, and people handle that in different ways. This is not the time to make panicky cuts in staff levels, this is the time to double down and support and nurture your teams through this crisis, so that at the other end of this what makes you strongest – i.e. your people – will continue to make you stronger post Covid-19. Working from home works better for some people than others. Some of your people are going to struggle with the isolation of being locked down, regular team calls are good for getting work tasks focused on and addressed, but also good to keep people sane in these unprecedented circumstances.
              5. LOOK AFTER YOUR CUSTOMERS – not all of your customers will make it through this troubling period of time. More of them will with your support though. Maybe a multi-buy or discount will help those struggling with the loss of physical retail sales, maybe just acting like you care will help. Perhaps your online marketing team can be spared to put some work and support into helping them set up or enhance web stores and/or local marketing campaigns.

              At this point we don’t know how long the Covid-19 pandemic will go on for. What we do know is that there seems to be a huge degree of certainty that a vaccine will be found and that effective treatments are not far away. In the short term we have a medical disaster on our hands in some localities, but this too will pass. For toy and game companies we need to survive this testing period of time in terms of our own health and well being, but also as businesses.

              This article is written for and published by Kids Brand Insight. For more information on Kids Brand Insight and what we do: www.KidsBrandInsight.com

              We have run Consultancy and Coaching projects for dozens and dozens of toy and game companies, and are actively and continuously helping companies get through the current difficult times.

              25 March 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              Toy Sourcing – The Next 10 Years: Why Nearly Everything We Know Is Going To Change And What To Do About It

              We recently ran a Webinar for a select few of our clients looking at trends in toy sourcing and some massive changes which are ongoing, and perhaps further advanced than many toy companies have recognised.

              The world of toy manufacturing is changing primarily due to the successful economic development of China. Because toy manufacturing tends to depend on labour intensive production lines, China’s economy has developed beyond the point where such work is sustainable with the same competitive advantages as China enjoyed when labour costs were significantly lower. We believe this is something China should be applauded for as they have significantly raised the standard of living of their population. This does though have major implications for the toy industry as we have become so reliant as an industry on toy manufacturing in China.

              The video below is the Webinar we recorded on the topic. Please note this video was recorded by and on behalf of Kids Brand Insight, our Consultancy business: http://www.KidsBrandInsight.com

              23 March 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              Toy & Games Industry Outlook 2020: Impact of Covid-19

              We recently published a LinkedIn article looking at the effects of Covid-19 in the short and medium term on the global toy & games business.

              We review what the likely implications are and also look at why there is light at the end of the tunnel for both the toy sector and the human species as a whole.

              To read the article, just click here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/toy-games-industry-outlook-2020-impact-covid-19-steve-reece/?trackingId=G0ak7FlITFmg%2BMFGwB70iQ%3D%3D

              Watch this space for an upcoming series of articles looking at practical steps the toy industry can take to get through this tough time with businesses and people in tact.

              For more on how we can help toy companies, here is our toy & game industry Consultancy business: www.KidsBrandInsight.com/services

              28 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              New York Toy Fair 2020 – Review

              As the curtain sets on another New York toy fair, and as those exhausted souls who have been mostly on the road attending toy trade shows so far in 2020 head off for some well earned rest, there are a number of clear conclusions to be made about the toy industry in general and about the New York Toy Fair itself.

              Firstly, as ever, this show remains the best place to access the lucrative North American toy fair. The show is always a great mix of pizzazz, product presentation and inter personal meeting, this year lived up to the high standards set in recent years. The great and the good of the North American toy scene were in attendance as per usual and the selection of new toy products on display was epic!

              The ‘C’ word (in this case meaning the coronavirus) was still a topic of conversation, and there is no doubt that there were very few Chinese visitors in attendance in New York. Since the show ended the virus has surfaced in a number of other countries round the world. Whether we see the virus as a serious global health risk or not the reality is that this pesky virus HAS affected supply chain for the toy business and other industries. There is a genuine risk of global recession as airlines cancel flights, stores are at risk of running out of stock and stock markets have tumbled. If you take a month of economic activity out of the global economy, then you inevitably risk ending up with a recessionary environment. We’re all hoping this thing clears quickly and we can all get back to work sharpish! At least in the toy business we have a business which is over balanced towards the last 3 months of the year, so we have a good opportunity ahead to chase sales, unlike some other industries/categories.

              We sat in on a fascinating presentation lat New York Toy Fair lead by the team at ICTI looking at alternative sourcing locations outside of China. While there has been a trend brewing for a few years for outside of China toy sourcing, this trend looks likely to accelerate based on this panel discussion, as people question the prudence of a complete reliance on one country as the source of nearly all their products. Going forward, we expect China’s ‘OEM’ business i.e. contract manufacturing product for other companies to reduce, but the business for self developed products and brands from China to grow significantly. Seems like it is time for China’s toy manufacturing sector to take a step up the value chain, and in doing so to elevate their economy and living standards for their people, which should be applauded. It does though mean that the classic low labour cost production model in China is heading towards the beginning of the end, and prudent toy companies are already looking elsewhere. It’s likely to be a bumpy road, because China’s toy manufacturing sector has become so reliable, so efficient and so integral to the global toy business.

              One other clear trend in New York was the environmental theme. This was such a prominent theme at the Nuremberg toy fair this year, but the question was whether this mighty and much revered land of gas guzzling vehicles and mass consumption would pay similar attention to this topic. New York toy fair 2020 was the time and the place where it became apparent that there is a truly global acceptance of the need for a move away from so much plastic consumption, with major announcements and initiatives from many exhibitors.

              Finally, on the last day of the show, we sneaked away early to go for a guided tour of the United Nations building in New York. In the forums of this building and institution humankind has managed to avoid the senseless mass scale conflict which dominated the 1st half of the 20th century. We finished our 2020 toy fair season by reflecting on meeting people from all around the world at these toy shows including people from China, the USA, Russia, the Middle East, Europe, South America and anywhere else in the world. The world order may be changing, and there may be a lot of division out there in a political and social sense, but above all we humans remain truly inter connected. The corona virus is not just China’s problem and the planet and environment are shared by all of us. China is not leaving the toy business, just redefining roles, heading towards a move from engine room to top of deck.

              What makes us different does not mean we can’t get along. Toy fair season is the ultimate proof of how inter connected humankind is, and in the end, we win together or lose together – so here’s wishing for peace and prosperity – toy fair season 2020, over and out!

              02 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              Spiewarenmesse (Nuremberg) Toy Fair 2020 Review

              Trying to review an event of the scale of Spielwarenmesse-Nuremberg toy fair is a challenge due to the sheer scale of the event. It would be quite possible to fill 2 weeks with meetings with people from across the industry, although 2 weeks of walking these extensive halls might cause permanent damage to feet!

              In the same way as the human eye and mind can struggle to understand and get a sense of perspective of some natural landmarks e.g. the Grand Canyon, so it is difficult to give a genuine overview of Spielwarenmesse.

              We can though look for some noticeable trends and happenings:

              Eco theme – for years there have been some products at the show which positioned themselves as eco-friendly. This time though, the scale of this trend was extensive. Many booths were showing at least one product or one range which had been made with sustainability and environmental considerations in mind. This was the first time I managed to get my hands on plant based ‘plastic’. This was an interesting experience, it appears to be quite similar to usual plastics at first glance/first touch. It does though seem a little less rigid, and I am told by knowledgeable people that the endurance and reliability of the material is not yet proven. Nevertheless, this eco-trend has been a huge trend, probably the dominant trend at this show.

              Coronavirus fear – unfortunately at the time of the show the coronavirus has received much media attention, and as Spielwarenmesse attracts visitors & exhibitors from all around the world (including China), a few visitors have stayed away out of fear. The official attendance figures show a small decline in total visitor numbers, but that wasn’t really noticeable around the show. Also, by way of sense of perspective in all the media hyperbole and sensationalist reporting, people get ill all the time regardless of the corona virus, and Spielwarenmesse is an event where you can come away ill unless you take some steps – just based on the huge congregation of people in one space breathing the same air, using the same door handles and shaking hands together! From a personal perspective, I doubt any germs could have lived on my hands during this years show as they were saturated with alcohol hand rub.

              Market challenges & market opportunities – the market is tough in some countries, but is growing in others. Always we judge the year by our own performance first and the market performance second, as such we spoke to people @ Spielwarenmesse who had great years in 2019 and people who had terrible years. Thankfully 2020 is a new year, and all opportunity is still ahead!

              Technology & Toys – yet again technology continues to impact the toy business across many fronts: via technology in the products, retail technologies and in media/marketing technologies. There are too many factors here to reference any specifics without missing something important, so more on Technology & Toys in future articles!

              Spielwarenmesse-Nuremberg toyfair as the biggest & best toy trade show – arguably (and also in our opinion) this is by far the best and most effective trade show to access the global toy business. Visitors come from all around the world, and opportunity is everywhere. Often the challenge is more prioritisation to ensure maximal benefit from attendance, because the potential avenues of opportunity and the potential business partners are so many!

              As the eyes of the global toy community now look westwards towards New York, the next week or two ahead of that event are bound to see a flurry of activity and follow up.

              Thanks to the organisers for another great show Spielwarenmesse, and onwards we trot!

              24 January 2020 ~ 0 Comments

              BTHA UK Toyfair 2020 Review

              Following a tough 2019 the UK toy industry assembled this week at the soon to be revamped Olympia Exhibition Centre to show their 2020 product lines.

              While 2019 was a difficult year for many, and the market was down overall, as per any year there were many winners and many losers. We all look at how good a year was on the basis of our own business performance – market size is more or less an abstract thing. I spoke to companies who had it really tough and to companies who had an incredible 2019. As per every other year, selling effectively, having compelling products combined with compelling marketing is the key, along with spreading risk across a few product categories and prudently trying to expand product offerings.

              The outlook for the UK toy market in 2020 is ok but with some challenges and threats on the horizon. Kids still want toys and parents are ever more desperate to leverage kids off screens which makes toys as attractive as they have ever been for parents.

              The challenge for the industry overall this year is the weakest movie slate for a few years, which normally dictates growth or regression in terms of total market size. The major risk right now appears to be consumer plastic backlash. It’s hard to know to what degree this contributed to a tough year in 2019, but it is clearly a major topic of conversation and with several retailers aggressively clamping down on needless plastic in packaging this is likely to be a theme for the next few years if not forever more.

              Looking forward to the next few UK toy fairs, we can expect some disruption due to the pending renovation of Olympia exhibition centre – this though seems like a discomfort worth accepting due to the great location and accessibility of Olympia versus past venues.

              Finally, on a personal note, as ever the UK toy fair seems like the cosiest of toy trade shows, with so many old friends and colleagues attending. While there were the usual reports or claims of traffic being down, I saw pretty much all the usual suspects so from my perspective, and from the perspective of most of the people I spoke to this was a successful show – which once again reinforces the importance of the UK’s own trade show. Even better than that, this was the first UK show for a while where nobody mentioned the dreaded ‘B’ word (that’s Brexit for those in the rest of the world who may not have noticed the UK’s paralysis over this issue for the last few years)!

              #ontothenextone #spielwarenmesse

              We run a toy industry consultancy business. If you need help to get ahead in the toy business, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll see if we can help, more details on our services here: http://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

              25 November 2019 ~ 0 Comments

              How To Secure Toy & Game Distribution Across Europe

              In the last article in this series we looked at how to secure distribution into North America. This time we’re looking at Europe.

              The start point in looking at Europe is that despite the existence of the European Union (which makes things much easier for trading across the continent), you are looking at more than 40 countries, each with it’s own culture, history, retail market and regulatory framework. Europe adds up to roughly around the same market value as the U.S.A., but that large market comes in many bits and pieces in Europe!

              The three biggest markets (by quite a long way) are the UK, France & Germany. Depending on which published figures you believe, these 3 markets make up around 50% (give or take a bit) of the European toy market.

              Followers of the ’80-20′ rule could be forgiven for thinking they will just focus on these 3 markets & take 50% of the potential opportunity. The challenge though is that these 3 markets alone are actually really quite different from each other, and so it isn’t always possible to use the same strategy in all three:

              UK Toy & Games Market: The UK is one of the most license driven toy markets. Movie related toys have always been a big thing, as are ‘TV’ properties and even YouTube content/personality licenses these days. In distribution terms, the market has a strong mass market channel with generalist retailers like Argos & grocers like Tesco, Asda & Sainsburys having good market share. Online has been strong for a long time in the UK, with Amazon leading the market. The toy specialist retail channel in the UK is also strong, with Smyths & The Entertainer achieving ongoing success, which looks set to continue as they take advantage of the gap left in the market by the disappearance of Toys R Us from the UK market. The ‘independent’ toy retail sector in the UK is comparatively small, which means that 5 or 6 retailers can still drive the majority of the opportunity, so most companies approach the UK market either via distributors, sales agents or via setting up their own subsidiary & sales team.

              Germany Toy & Games Market – the German toy & games market is quite different from the UK. Overall it is far less license driven, with an emphasis on higher quality components/materials i.e. overall less plastic! And if the toy is still plastic it is more likely to be of higher quality plastic. The parenting culture is strong and German parents tend to be very responsible & interested in the development of their children, especially versus the U.K. Therefore product categories such as board games, construction toys, learning toys are all comparatively strong in Germany. The retail market in Germany is quite fragmented, with thousands of independent toy stores, and a number of retail chains who are important but not dominant players. Germany has long been one of the most internet savvy markets in Europe, as such online channels including Amazon (of course!) are strong. Germany would be a harder market to set up your own distribution due to the fragmented market & store by store of some key retailers/channels in Germany. Therefore distributors would normally be the chosen path to market in Germany.

              France Toy & Games Market – France is a strong toy market, but with some distinct local differences. For instance, France has a content production ecosystem of its own, along with long standing comic culture which means that while licensed toys are fairly strong in France, some are based on licenses from France’s own entertainment content. The retail market has 3 key channels: hypermarkets or ‘hypermarché’ inc. Carrefour, Auchan & Leclerc. These retail behemoths have less market share now than in the past but they are still significant. They are known for running massive toy promotions in the last part of the year. While the toy ranges may be small throughout Q1-Q3, they tend to expand significantly in Q4 with aggressive pricing to match. The toy specialist retail channel in France is long established but has had some issues in the past few years as key players ran into financial difficulty. Again the online channel is established in France and as elsewhere is an increasingly significant contributor to the market. France has some strong distributors, as well as the usual network of sales agents/reps. Setting up your own subsidiary can be risky as hiring staff in France is comparatively easy, but firing staff in France is difficult and costly because of local employment laws.

              CONCLUSION – in summary, Europe represents a significant opportunity for toy & game companies to expand their distribution. Bear in mind though that despite the helpful presence of the European Union, it is not one uniform market place. Product culture varies from market to market, as does the retail landscape. A winning strategy for European toy & games distribution is to allow for local differences in your plans!

              If you are interested in selling into European toy & game markets we offer a Consultancy service to toy and board game companies across the world (past clients have come from countries as diverse as the USA, Australia, India, China, Bulgaria, Korea etc). Our brand, product and export sales management service allows us to get deep underneath the skin of toy companies and to help them sell more into North America & elsewhere both via effective selling using our extensive toy industry connections, but also by helping them to correctly align their brands and products to the market. We offer this service with a limited capacity with a maximum of 5 spaces at any one time. At the time of writing, we have only 1 space left heading into toy fair season. To find out more about working with us on this service & to get our help to grow your business please just drop us a line or visit here for more details:?www.KidsBrandInsight.com/services/

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