Christmas and sale season is just around the corner. Kids make their lists. Parents make their purchases. And companies (hopefully) make their forecasts.
Toys may be fun, but they are serious business. With toys driving so much of the overall festive spending bonanza, Field Agent recently ran a study to uncover parents’ and kids’ attitudes and behaviours toward toy shopping. With insights gathered from 300 Australian families and a total of 424 children under 12 years old, we’ve prepared for you a peek into the top retailers of choice for toy purchases, the favourite toy franchises amongst boys and girls, and the role of digital shopping.
What really matters to parents as they shop for and buy toys for the kiddos?
The three top priorities for parents are: (a) quality/durability/longevity, (b) price and (c) educational/developmental value. Least importance was placed upon gender specific gifts.
Naturally, where there are parental priorities, there are bound to be parental frustrations, as one or more factors might impede mum and dad’s toy-buying objectives.
When it comes to toy-shopping, parents said they’re especially frustrated with out-of-stocks (63%), prices (54%) and selecting toys their children will actually play with/like (41%). Taking the kids along to do the toy shopping (35%) is also a common source of irritation!
Which retailers have captured the affection of toy shoppers?
And do parents and kids differ about the best places to shop for and buy toys?
Kmart (40%) took top place in Field Agent’s survey of parents, followed by Big W (23%), Target (15%), and Toys-R-Us (11%).
But would kids see eye-to-eye with their parents? As it turns out, yes.
Children showed an equally strong preference for Kmart (33%) with Toys R Us (22%) following behind as the second most popular toy shopping destination for kids.
Toy Shopping in an Omni Channel World
News feeds are buzzing these days with omnichannel developments—everything from online spending to in-store pickup, app-based shopping to same day, in-town delivery.
How has the omnichannel impacted toy shopping?
According to survey results, only 15% of parents say they ‘often’ purchase toys online and 52% ‘sometimes’ purchase toys online. When asked how often they purchase toys for their kids online, only 5% responded ‘never’.
eBay wins the race on preferred choice of online retailer for toy shopping (21%) with Target a close second (17%).
Something has to make all those remote-control cars, back-flipping puppy dogs, and handheld video games do their thing. Battery juggernauts Energiser (38%) and Duracell (28%) and were on the top of the heap as the brands parents prefer, with private label/store brand batteries (20%) a near third place.
Parents were also asked to describe the ideal “batteries included” scenario when buying new toys.
Do they prefer to pay a little more for name brand batteries to be included, or would they prefer lower grade batteries (or no batteries at all) with a lower price tag?
Convincingly, 47% said they’d prefer high grade, name brand batteries, even if it means paying a bit more.
It’s all about the kids
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to buying toys, parents think MOST about the desires and wishes of their child, with price and promotion, a secondary influence.
The kids have their say…
Field Agent set out to determine what toys, specifically, 5-12-year olds, have their sights set on for the upcoming festive season and beyond. We asked kids:
“What one toy do you want most for Christmas this year?”
Regardless of gender, it was a big win for LEGO, which received the most mentions across all kids. Sports equipment, gaming consoles and tech devices (Fit Bits, drones etc) also cleaned up.
- Sport Equipment
- Gaming Console
- Tech Devices (Eg, Fit Bit, drones etc)
- Apple products (Eg, iPad, iPod touch)
- General toys (Action figurines, board games, dolls, etc)
- Remote Control Cars
An almost equal weighting was placed upon You Tube, friends and TV Advertising as the major influences to what toys the kids want.
Best and worst of gift giving and receiving?
When asking kids what they like and dislike, the results are honest and brutally truthful.
LEGO (27%) is the long reining gift hero of the best gifts to receive. Amongst the worst? Clothing and footwear (sorry Grandma) (36%).
Interestingly, an equal number of kids (25%) responded that gaming consoles are both the best and the worst gifts.
What could toy manufacturers and retailers do better?
Field Agent gave over 500 parents an open forum to articulate their suggestions for toy companies and retailers. The quotes below are representative of the more prominent themes arising from parents’ remarks.
For many companies, the entire year rises and falls on this crucial pre-Christmas retail season. How is your brand performing? Field Agent provides crowdsourcing via smartphones to equip brands, retailers, and agencies with location-specific in-store information and/or ‘in the moment’ shopper and consumer insights.
The bottom line is the bottom line.
Mobile Audits and Research from Field Agent offer a fast, affordable way to better understand and increase retail sales throughout the festive season.