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Impulse Toy Purchases Driven by Price, Child's Request

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According to a new report from The NPD Group, the majority of toy purchases are planned (62%), with buyers setting out knowing what toy and/or where they are going to purchase. More than three-quarters of buyers (77%) who made a planned purchase said they knew specifically where they wanted to shop.

In terms of toy availability within a retail store, 42% of toy purchasers looking for a specific toy said they would look for that toy in a different store, and 9% would look online to purchase it if the toy they were looking for was not available. Only 22% of buyers claim they would look for a different product in the same store.

"The fact that there is less substitution of another item if the original item isn't found is a real wake-up call for retailers," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "Picking the right product selection and then managing the inventory to keep those items in stock is more important than ever before."

On the flip side, 38% of toy purchases were not planned, with 70% of those unplanned purchases coming from on-the-spot impulse decisions made by the toy buyer. The remaining 30% were made because either the buyer was coerced into the purchase by a child (21%), or they remembered they needed to buy a toy after they were already in the store (9%). And while a child's request for a toy is a key driver for unplanned purchases, pricing is the primary motivator to purchase.

"Of all unplanned purchases, 91% are truly purchased on impulse," said Frazier. "This points to the importance of in-store support such as signage, price reductions and packaging. Pricing is utmost in the decision to make an impulse purchase with the child nag-factor being the second most important influencer, making in-store presence key to assisting these types of purchases."

According to the report, planned purchases result in higher price points than unplanned purchases (average price of planned purchases is 1.5 times higher than unplanned). Some of this may be driven by the types of categories that buyers look for during planned purchases. For example, categories with the highest price points, Building Sets and Youth Electronics, are two of the categories most likely to be planned. "Planned purchases are more important to overall toy sales than ever before," said Frazier. "For manufacturers, this means that generating direct to consumer awareness through advertising, promotion and PR is critical to driving items on to wish-lists and influencing the 'nag factor.' "

[Source:  "Toy Purchase Decisions."  The NPD Group.  8 Dec. 2010.  Web.  10 Dec. 2010.]