What Retail Buyers Want: Toys  1/19/2018

When it comes to the types of toys retail buyers are seeking to include in their stores in the coming year, one thing is exceedingly clear – they are looking for products in the category that stretch the imagination, engage deep thought, and exercise the bodies of the children who use them. And while hi-tech toys are very much in demand from these buyers, the categories of toys we all played with as kids are making a comeback, as well.

Among the buyers attending ECRM's Toy EPPS, to be held April 9 to 11 in Itasca, Ill., below are some of the key categories in the segment for which they have indicated particular interest, based on their comments on the session's prep site.

Educational & STEM: As we covered in a post last year, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) toys are among the hottest categories, and some retailers are building complete assortments around this segment, such as Amazon and Target, which built destination pages on their websites for STEM toys like building kits and robotics.

Sports & Outdoor Play: Toys that encourage physical activity, such as bikes, scooters and other riding toys, as well as traditional sports products and equipment, like balls, Frisbees, and the like.

“Imagination” Toys: These include toys and items that help kids work the creative muscles of the brain and expand their imaginations, such as dress-up items, doll houses, and products involved in role playing – like the old Cowboys & Indians sets, or policeman kits. This also includes costumes and items licensed from movies, such as Star Wars light sabers.

Games & Puzzles: While many products in this segment have learning components to them, there are also many that are just pure, simple fun.

Remote Control Vehicles: The remote control segment has always seen a lot of demand, and more advanced tech means that these vehicles can do even more now than ever before.

Retro Toys: While robotics and remote control toys are cool, low-tech retro toys are starting to make a comeback, and buyers are looking for items like yo-yos, tacks, and pick up sticks that kept us amused for hours when we were younger.

Collectibles: Products that kids collect and save for years, many of which are also included above, like action figures and dolls.

Stuffed Animals and Plush: These are perennial favorites among kids, and while classic teddy bears will also be popular, newer plush products like emoji (yes, including the smiling poop emoji) and very popular, as well.

Impulse Products: Items that can be merchandised on shippers, power wings, and clips strips, or at the checklane for incremental sales.

Off-Price Opportunity Buys: Many buyers look for quick deals that enable them to constantly refresh their offerings and give shoppers a reason to keep coming back to their stores.


Melinda Young

SVP of General Merchandise


Rachel Mayfield
February 15, 2018 3:17 PM

Interesting article! Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Mayfield
February 15, 2018 3:18 PM

Interested in the 'Imagining toys'

Angie Jordan
February 21, 2018 11:59 AM

Thank you, Melinda, for sharing your knowledge and reinforcing product trends in toys! We can't wait to present our engaging product range of educational, STEM, and imaginative products at the 2018 Toy EPPS in April. Take a sneak peek at our digital catalogs available at www.learningadvantagedealer.com.

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