Dec 28, 2018
Out of disruption comes opportunity for the toy marketplace

Could a toy grow with a child, providing engagement, education, and most of all fun as he or she develops? Or could the next generation of brick-and-mortar toy stores actually be mobile trucks bringing toys and interactive play experiences close to where children live? These and other examples reflect areas of opportunity for toy companies and toy retailers in the coming years, according to The Toy Association’s new report, “Toy Manufacturing and Retail Solutions – the Future.”

Companies face new realities from shifting consumer preferences and technological advances that are redefining the nature of a toy and how children play. Retailers are being forced to adjust to consumer demand for interactive shopping experiences, where low price alone is not enough to draw and keep customers, given the advent of the omnichannel shopper. The Toy Association engaged ProdigyWorks and its exclusive network of creative thinkers and industry experts to deliver fresh ideas as to how the industry can capitalize on the changing marketplace and appeal to new and existing consumers.

“As the next era of toy retail distribution is defined, one thing is clear – sticking to the way business was done in the past is a sure path to failure in the future. Toy companies and retailers must break with conventional approaches and respond to evolving consumer behaviors,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association. “Our most-recent thought leadership work with ProdigyWorks suggests to our members new ways for toymakers to create ground-breaking and engaging playthings that appeal to children and enthusiasts of all ages and new avenues for retailers to capture these customers.”

Selected from more than 200 ideas by ProdigyWork’s futurists, the new report identifies 12 key opportunities, centered around five themes: “A Toy Diaspora,” “Everybody Plays,” “Experiences,” “Speaking to Consumer Values,” and “Looking Beyond the Thing: Service Opportunities.” In the coming weeks, The Toy Association will launch a new series, called “New Pathways to Success in the Industry,” that will take a deep-dive into each of these themes and the opportunities within them. The series will be featured in the Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Toy News Tuesday, and on social media.

“By tapping into a diverse mix of prodigies from around the world, we were able to uncover rich consumer insights for The Toy Association and identify hundreds of concepts to success in the toy marketplace of the future for both manufacturers and retailers,” according to Ted Curtin, chief innovation officer of ProdigyWorks.

The new report complements a first phase completed in early 2018 in which The Toy Association commissioned ProdigyWorks to determine how the toy industry will look over the next decade and to explore transformational ideas about toys and play. At the time, ProdigyWorks concluded that the toy industry has significant an opportunity to redefine toys and play for the next generation and shared its findings in “The Future Toy Consumer and Toy Retail Ecosystem, Part I & Part II.” A third report exploring STEM/STEAM opportunities in toys and play will be available in the coming months.

The full reports are available free to Toy Association members at

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