Toy Marketers to Promote Social and Performance Play in 2011

With the last holiday season just behind us, the toy industry is already thinking about what the next big sales cycle holds. The annual Toy Industry Association convention just wrapped up in New York City. As a result of the convention analysts have identified several trends that will lead the way in new toy development.  In designing toys, manufacturers usually consider the needs of “parents, the government and healthcare officials who are striving to amp up educational and active play to ensure a brighter, healthier future for today’s kids”.  As new toys are introduced, marketers will roll out promotions to boost sales.

The following major toy trends are expected in 2011:

  • Simply Social – The huge interest in social networks has prompted toy makers to design products that work with apps. In some cases, the physical toys will also have an online presence in virtual worlds. And rather than emphasizing the need to ‘wait one’s turn’, more games will allow for constant cooperative and team play. New toys will also teach children to become more aware of the global village and teach them to be citizens with eco-​friendly or charitable values.
  • Cent-​Sational – Marketers will introduce toys with many components that can purchased one at a time. In addition, inexpensive collectibles or mini-​toys are expected to be popular.
  • Performance Play – Everyone from parents to health care providers is concerned about the coach-​potato syndrome. To counter the problem, more toys will get kids on their feet and engaged in role-​playing or active play.
  • Design, Discover and Learn – Parents and educators remained focused on the competitive position of U.S. kids in the global economy. To spur interest in the important fields of Science, Tech, Engineering and Math (STEM), manufacturers will be introducing more toys that allow kids to build models, create trial and error scenarios and explore spy gear.

U.S. retail sales of toys rose 2% in 2010 and reached $21.87 billion. Manufacturers are hoping to maintain strong sales growth  in 2011 and will be promoting new toy products to retailers early in the season.

[Source: 2011 Toy Trends Reflect 21st Century Values and Desires. Toy Industry Association. 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.