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The toy market victim of consumer arbitrage

The toy market victim of consumer arbitrage

The toy market has not resisted the purchasing power constraints of the French. Children’s Christmas is usually, in times of crisis, the last budget that families cut back on. Manufacturers and distributors had therefore hoped until the last minute that in 2023, the sector would make up for the 4% decline in sales recorded during the first nine months of the year. Christmas shopping accounts for 30% of the sector’s annual turnover.

It was not the case. Sales of games and toys in France fell by 5.2% in value, to 4.3 billion euros, and by 8% in volume over the whole of 2023, the sector announced on Thursday January 18, based on data from the Circana firm (formerly NPD). “It’s 220 million euros less than last year, but in a difficult context”, put Frédérique Tutt, toy market expert for Circana, into perspective. And above all common to the whole of Europe: – 5.2% in Germany, – 5.4% in the United Kingdom… In France in 2022, sales in value had fallen by 2.6%.

As well as consumer products whose sales fell by 3.1% in volume over the year in large food stores according to Circana, “the toy market has borne the brunt of French arbitrage”according to MMe Tutt: 30% of them looked for solutions to spend less by moving towards “unbranded products or smaller toys”, 27% looked for lower prices by tracking down promotions, and 21% of French people postponed their purchases until the very last days before Christmas.

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So much so that this year again, purchases were late and concentrated in the last weeks of 2023. “It shifts from year to year”notes Florent Leroux, president of the French Federation of Toy and Childcare Industries, which represents manufacturers. “The French bought a little less in October and November, and there was a rush in December as expected”specifies Mr.Me Tutt, reading sales in December down 2%. Over the quarter, the decline was 6%.

Customers focused on food purchases

In this environment, the most penalized channels were hypermarkets, where toy sales fell by 10%, and in which customers focused on food purchases. In specialized channels, which represent 40.7% of the market, sales fell less than in the sector as a whole (-2%), while other channels, mainly Internet, showed a response of 5% over one year. . .

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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