Christmas toy sales are ‘lagging’ by two weeks

The 2007 Christmas toy market is lagging two weeks behind last year’s and is being driven by price promotions, according to Toy Retailers Association chairman Gary Grant. He says that although the most popular brands are, as often, in short supply, retailers are offering huge discounts on other ranges to secure market share.

Grant says that the biggest success story has been the BBC’s In The Night Garden range based on the pre-school TV show, with the character Igglepiggle as the most popular item. Also selling well are Hasbro’s Are You Smarter Than a 10-Year-Old? game and Vivid’s Goldenballs. A surprise hit has been the C’mon characters used in the Vauxhall Corsa ads that have been selling well online, he adds.

Grant says: “It has been a very mixed bag this year, business is running about two weeks behind where it should be, and that has caused a number of retailers to stimulate business, which means there are a lot of bargains available.”

He adds that some toys were already being sold at below cost price. “There will be less profit for the toy industry this year,” says Grant. “Shops are busy, but it has been a slow build and that has led to a high level of promotions and discounts.”

The prediction comes as many toy retailers turn to price promotions in their Christmas press campaigns, comparing their prices to those of their rivals.

Meanwhile, a recent survey said that almost 40% of UK consumers are less likely to buy Chinese manufactured products after Mattel’s toy recall crisis (MW September 27). The YouGov survey commissioned by Marketing Week said that 72% of consumers were aware of the recall and 23% would not feel confident about Mattel products.