Children Want Apps and Electronics but Canadian Parents Buy Mostly Traditional Toys

Electronics That Are Purchased for Children Are Devices That Appeal to Multiple Ages

Chicago, January 29, 2015 — Christmas was just weeks ago and already the toy industry is gearing up for the 2015 holiday shopping season, and based on new findings from The NPD Group, a leading global information company, the money is still on traditional toys. NPD’s toy market research finds that while children want apps and electronics more than traditional toys, more money is being spent — particularly by parents — on traditional toys.

Outdoor toys and sporting goods were two commonly purchased traditional toy types, although least requested categories by children, which suggests parents are the primary purchaser, according to NPD’s recently released Evolution of Play in Canada report. Other traditional toys purchased, most of which are associated with being educational or promoting good behavior, are children arts and crafts kits and supplies, games, and stuffed toys.

When electronics are purchased for children the items typically bought are devices that have applications for multiple ages, like smartphones, tablets, or MP3 players. Thirty-one per cent of the MP3 players and 16 per cent of tablets parents purchased were for their children. Child-specific items, like electronic learning devices and portable video games, experienced a decline in usage among children, reports NPD.

Although children, in varying degrees depending on age, have significant influence on toy purchases, parents make the majority of toy purchase decisions. Over 60 per cent of parents said their purchases are most heavily influenced by what children want and by toys that promote education and good behaviour. Parents consider the opinions of their friends to be a primary research source for toys, but do not consider their recommendations to be a purchase driver, suggesting that parents are making up their mind about a toy first, and then reaching out to friends for reinforcement. Children are most influenced by what their friends and other children are doing and what they see at retail.

“Toy marketers spend a significant amount of money marketing to both children and parents,” says Alex Teper, toy industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Understanding what children desire and which toys and electronics parents are buying as well as the influencers of these purchases, will assist toy manufacturers and retailers to more efficiently spend and target their marketing dollars.”

Evolution of Play Report Methodology:
This report is based on information and insights obtained from The NPD Group’s Canadian online consumer panel. Panelist completed an online consumer survey consisting of approximately 42 questions. The survey was fielded to a Canadian sample of male and female adults, ages 25-54 years old with a child age 2-12 in the household. A total of 2,377 parents completed the survey.

Note that each respondent (parent) was asked to focus on one child for the purposes of the research. If the respondent had multiple children in the 2-12 age range, one child was selected at random.

The survey was in field from October 21st-November 3rd, 2014. The NPD Group will be launching an ongoing retail tracking service of toys point-of-sale information in early summer 2015.

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The NPD Group, Inc.
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