Sales of Children's Furnishings, Accessories and Toys Regain Momentum

The combined U.S. retail sales of children's home furnishings, portable accessories, and toys are ascending by more than 5% during 2010 to reach a record $18 billion by year's end, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts' recent industry study, Infant, Toddler and Preschool Furnishings, Toys and Accessories in the U.S., 4th Edition. The report focuses on products for kids age 0–5.

In terms of share of retail dollars, toys account for more than $8 billion, or 46%, of the entire infant, toddler, and preschooler (ITP) furnishings/​accessories/​toys market in 2010. However, accessories (baby monitors, car seats, strollers), which account for over a third of the market with more than $6 million, have gained a bit of ground since 2006. Furnishings (cribs, highchairs, safety gates, etc.) have consistently accounted for nearly $1 out of every $5 throughout most of 2006–2010 with a total expected to surpass $3 billion.

Packaged Facts forecasts U.S. retail sales of ITP furnishings, accessories, and toys will exceed $22 billion as of 2015 with the market's total growth for the period beginning 2010 amounting to 24%. Such optimism regarding sales of ITP furnishings/​accessories/​toys is conditional upon the country's continued recovery from the economic recession of 2008–2009.

In the ITP furnishings/​accessories/​toys marketplace of 2010, the competitive situation is best characterized by issues of price, value, and upscale- whether high-​tech or simply elegant — brand image. In the realm of luxury goods, many brands are experiencing stronger sales in 2010 and the ITP durables market appears to be benefiting from affluent or wealthy Americans' return to spending, post-​recession. Such a resurrection is largely enabled by the improving economy, and in addition, to the pre-​recession upscaling of America's taste in nursery decor, strollers, learning toys, and other ITP products.

"America's tastes have long been trained toward the upscale," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "In the broader marketplace, upscale brands have become particularly powerful influences in our society, and in many of our product markets, ever since the Reagan era of the 1980s. It seems that once we acquire a taste for the luxuries that upscale brands provide, even the severest recession can only temporarily halt or reverse these brands' progress."

The pre-​recession, recession, and recovery eras have opened up a "mid-​luxury" tier for ITP durables. Many marketers of expensive ITP goods have issued intermediate-​priced versions of their products to accommodate Americans whose lifestyles have been disrupted by the shaky economy. And consumers have indeed met such marketers halfway by purchasing strollers in the $500 — $600 range instead of spending $1,200 for example.

Even for the millions of moms-​to-​be who often cannot afford anything deemed upscale or high-​end, the acquisition of luxury or mid-​luxury ITP products has more frequently been made possible by the collaboration of multiple friends or family members (occasionally numbering in the dozens) pooling resources to purchase high-​end gifts for baby showers. Through this practice the rare and exotic then becomes fairly common. Packaged Facts' survey data reveals that nearly 33% of all adults are purchasers of products for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; 26% of which are purchasing for other people's children.

[Source:  Infant, Toddler and Preschool Furnishings, Toys and Accessories in the U.S., 4th Edition.  Packaged Facts.  21 Oct. 2010.  Web.  25 Oct. 2010.]