Many early predictions about what was in store for the toy industry in 2020 have been totally upended since COVID-19 hit. In spite of it all, the first half of the year saw strong sales growth in the toys and games market. Nothing is certain going into the holiday shopping season and 2021, but manufacturers have learned how to adapt quickly and prepare for the unexpected to keep business afloat. Read on to find out how COVID-19 transformed the toy business within months this year, and how an industry of innovators have been thinking outside the box to meet those changes.
“Our production is at full capacity and customers will not see an impact this fall,” Frankowski said. WowWee Chief Technology Officer Davin Sufer noted that there were some delays right after the Chinese New Year, when China was on lockdown. Since then, WowWee has adjusted to new methods of conducting business. “The good news is we have a strong team in Hong Kong who have stepped up to the challenge and have been keeping everything on track,” Sufer said.
Manufacturing as usual Though the onset of the pandemic, when China was hit hard, created temporary supply chain disruptions, toy companies report that manufacturing bounced back quickly. “Outside of a disruption at the end of February and early March, things got back on track quickly and are back on line at full capacity ever since,” Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun!, said. Ronnie Frankowski, Chief Marketing Officer at Moose Toys, said that the company’s shift to working from home for employees around the world presented “unique challenges,” but that Moose’s supply chain teams and partners have managed to minimize disruptions to manufacturing and delivery of goods.
New ways to launch Unable to shoot television commercials or host retail events in-person, toy companies are rethinking how to launch and generate excitement around new products. Laura Henderson, SVP of Marketing for Spin Master, noted that the company had to “get creative” in order to execute commercials and how-to videos and plan marketing all from home. “We worked with talent remotely and in some cases casted real families, directed virtually, and ultimately delivered an incredible creative foundation to best showcase our imaginative toys,” Henderson said. “The challenges actually inspired new creative formats, platforms, and approaches that we will continue with into the future.”
30 tfe October 2020
10/8/20 12:14 AM
TFE/TFE Licensing is a magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.