Mattel prepares for UK launch of PowerTouch ‘learning aid’ range

Mattel is set to enter one of the UK toy market’s fastest-growing sectors with its PowerTouch Learning System.

The Fisher-Price pre-school electronic learning system will be available in the US by the end of this year, before being introduced in the UK next autumn. Mattel’s brand manager for Fisher-Price, Anabel Khun, says the product has been in development for three years and will be backed by a massive marketing campaign, although she declines to give details.

The electronic learning aids (ELA) sector is one of the fastest-growing in the UK toy market – up 42 per cent year on year in the first six months of 2003 (EPoS Retail Tracking). “There has been more growth in this sector in the past three years than ever before,” says Khun.

The success story of the sector is LeapFrog’s LeapPad learning system, which was the best selling pre-school toy in the UK in 2001. LeapFrog appointed Heinz marketer Teresa Ceballos as its vice-president of marketing for the UK in May.

“The ELA market is an area of the toy market that many manufacturers are focusing on at the moment, so it is no surprise that Mattel wants to increase its market share,” says one UK toy retailer. “The toy industry is shrinking as children are ‘getting older younger’, so the under-fives are becoming increasingly important.”

The PowerTouch Learning System is designed to help children develop reading skills by touching words and pictures. The system will feature more than 60 learning activities, covering reading, phonics, spelling and arithmetic.

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