Courtesy of Learning Care Group
by Lutz Muller
In a pretty flat overall market place, Amazon continues to make headway as it is propelled by the ongoing move to cyber space, lower prices, and convenience.
Amazon has three major assets. First, the absence of brick-and-mortar stores allows Amazon to offer an unlimited inventory. Second, Amazon pays no sales tax in most states, which allows the company to undersell its competitors. Third, Amazon’s infrastructure allows it to grow almost limitlessly without the need for expensive retail stores.
This is how Amazon’s sales developed over the past few years against two major competitors:
Big Tent Entertainment has signed a new licensing agreement with Plushland to bring viral sensation Domo to the world of sports. The long-term deal will see the launch of a line of branded plush featuring Domo decked out in college, MLB, and NHL team logos, as well as a number of destination slogans and sayings, including “I Love New York.” Beginning next spring, campus bookstores, specialty stores, and other sports merchandisers will feature the new Domo plush line, which includes fuzzy dice, cubes, balls, and pillows.
Courtesy of VTech
Results Show the Majority of Today’s Parents are Extremely Safety Conscious, Labeling Themselves as either “Protective” or a “Close Supervisor”
In honor of National Baby Safety month in September, VTech Communications, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of VTech Holdings Ltd., commissioned a survey1 conducted by independent market research firm Toluna to uncover parents’ worries, habits, and priorities for a safe home. Top safety concerns include children getting hurt by falling or getting into harmful material (29 percent), choking (24 percent), and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (20 percent).
With these worries top of mind, today’s parents are extremely safety conscious with the majority (71 percent) of survey respondents labeling themselves as either close supervisors (40 percent) or protective (31 percent).
“As every parent discovers, keeping kids safe remains a 24/7 proposition,” says Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central. “National Baby Safety Month offers parents key advice and tips around home safety practices that can both help protect children and provide parents with peace of mind.”
Courtesy of Toy Industry Association
Character licenses based on blockbuster movies have the ability to propel products to stratospheric success, creating memories that last a lifetime for millions of fans. Recent sales for licensed toys reflect this growing phenomenon: last year, licensed toys and games were up 2 percent from 2010. For the first half of this year, those numbers have climbed further to 27 percent of total toy sales.
“Kids love bringing movies to life through play, whether they are re-enacting storylines, imagining new plot developments, or emulating their favorite superheroes and villains,” said Adrienne Appell, trend expert at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Playthings related to the biggest blockbusters are sure to be on the wish lists of kids throughout the year and well into the holiday season.”
TIA has been tracking many of the family friendly movies that have toy and game tie-ins on its ToyInfo.org website. The following are a few examples from this year so far… and a sneak peak at what’s coming this fall:
The Avengers (May)
Toys and games related to The Avengers encourage kids to get into the spirit of the fast-paced movie. Considered by many to be the break-out movie and toy property of the year, strong toy sales are anticipated to continue during the holiday season following the Sept. 25 release of the DVD and Blu-Ray.
- Bubble Blaster: The Avengers (Imperial Toy)
- Game Strike Hulk (Hasbro)
- 21-inch Avengers Skateboard (Bravo Sports)
- Marvel Mini Basketball Hoop Set (Franklin Sports)
- The Avengers Mini Muggs Action Figure two-pack (Hasbro)
By Justin E. Pierce, Toy Industry Association
$27 million. That was the MSRP value of the counterfeit toys and electronic games seized by customs and border patrol last year alone. And that is only what was seized. Unfortunately, this is the reality of having a commercially successful toy or game. While you have invested sweat and equity into development, bringing it to market, and building your brand, you are now faced, as a result of your success, with counterfeiters that eat into your profits, infringe on your rights, and expose you to liability.
This is an all too common problem, particularly in light of the ease of the online marketplace. In fact, any company with a well-known brand or popular toy or game should assume that it is already being counterfeited. Likewise, any company with a global footprint that has distribution channels in different countries, with different regulatory schemes and pricing, should assume that various entities are working to take their profit margin by diverting products. Diversion of products into unauthorized sales channels and distribution of “gray market” goods (or parallel imports) causes significant losses for many companies.
The Toy Book‘s July/August issue showcases new puzzles and games for mass and specialty retail. We received dozens of submissions fit to print, beyond what fit on our printed pages. Here’s a look at 10 more specialty games and puzzles after the jump.
Courtesy of Toy Industry Association
Back-to-school season is just around the corner for millions of kids across the country … but there’s no need for younger siblings who are not yet in school to feel out of the learning loop. Thanks to toy innovation in the infant and pre-school categories, there are tons of great new playthings on the market that build cognitive and developmental skills at a young age.
“With increases in total U.S. births predicted for both 2012 and 2013, toymakers are rolling out a broad array of brand new toys and games to challenge and excite little ones, presenting them with more play options than ever before,” says Adrienne Appell, trend expert at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Toys can help transform tots and toddlers into lifelong learners by helping them explore their interests and talents very early on.”
Maxfield and Oberton, creator of BuckyBalls and BuckyCubes, has announced a video campaign to educate their consumers about its ongoing and increasing safety efforts in protest to the Consumer Products Safety Commision’s recent actions.
The CPSC filed an administrative complaint against the company to compel it to stop sales. In May 2010, CPSC and Maxfield and Oberton announced a cooperative recall of approximately 175,000 high-powered magnets labeled “Ages 13+” because they did not meet a mandatory federal toy standard stating that such products should not be sold to anyone under age 14.
The CPSC has said that BuckyBalls and BuckyCubes contain a defect in the design, packaging, warnings, and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury to the public. The Commission voted 3-1 to order that the firm cease sales of BuckyBalls and BuckyCubes, notify the public of the defect, and offer consumers refunds.
This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.