1. Market opportunities
Tinka Toys has avoided moving out of its traditional markets and still focuses on play-value toys designed to develop a child’s imagination and manual dexterity. Although it continues to be a major presence in the pre-school and infant market place by offering a variety of pack and price options, sales have slipped over the last fives years. Its products now appearold-fashioned when compared to competition.
The market research findings, conducted by Tinka Toys in June 2007, show clearly that when given the choice most children would rather play with toys from the competition. This is true for children from the various age groups listed (2 to 8). Indeed, there are a lot of toy companies in markets which are now global with both their own production andexternal production, or a combination of both. Leaders like Lego and Leap Frog are mainly active in the infant and pre-school segment, which according to the Toy Industries of Europe comes top in 2009, with 19.9%, in the European toy market (Toy Industries of Europe, 2009).
Despite the problems caused by the economic downturn, Key Note, a market research company, reported recently that ‘‘the marketremains vibrant, due to an ever-increasing child population in the UK thanks to a rising birth rate. Family sizes are getting smaller and people are becoming parents later on - two factors which mean more disposable income to lavish on their children.’’ (Toy Retailing, 2009).
But what is competition doing that we are not? What are the market trends?
1.1. Electronic games
We can also see,from Tinka Toys market research, that children aged more than 5 years have got a strong preference for electronic games. This fact is corroborated by answers obtained from both parents and children. The current trend indeed in all sectors of the market is towards electronic toys and computer assisted learning with many of these designed to attract children. Moreover, the popularity of cable andsatellite television markets is contributing to toys following film and TV trends. The danger however is that fashion trends makes it difficult to over see what will be popular and the implications can be dramatic if retailers are left with undesired stocks. Having said this, traditional toys still have an attraction for the new generation of children born in the information age.
BRIO, distributorof toys in the Nordic region, draws attention to this, in their 2009 Annual Report, when - referring to major changes -, they mention Age Compression as a main market trend:
‘‘Children are abandoning conventional toys at an earlier age as a result of increasing use of computer games, MP3 players and mobile phones, for example. This represents strategic challenges for the toy industry.’’
Toaccommodate this phenomenon, referred to as Kids Getting Older Younger, toys are being reworked to track pre-teen fashions trends and adult interests especially technology (The toy market: rapid changes, leading to fewer and larger players, 2010).
1.2. Traditional toys
On the other hand, BRIO’s 2009 Annual Report has that the wooden toy segment prioritises high quality and educationalvalue, along with environmentally friendly policies. Tinka Toys could explore further this segment and build on their past traditional wooden toys with a view to targeting environmentally minded customers. This would undoubtedly pay as Tinka Toys won the battle for educational toys.
Natural wooden toys have been around for many centuries, be it a child's rocking horse or the spinning top, just forexamples. Recently they have started to make a comeback in children's play, maybe due to being able to carve with more precision using up to date technology, which makes children’s wooden toys look more realistic, they also have less impact on the environment compared to the petroleum based plastic and rubber toys of today. Now that the environment is at the forefront of the news, the natural...
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