The other day I posed a question on an internet forum I frequent. The question was simple: Is collecting hurting the toy industry? I think it is a valid question.
Here is my thought process: I frequent toy aisles, I'm a collector it's what we do. In the last few years how ever I am seeing fewer and fewer kids in these aisles, and more and more collectors (meaning people around my age). Now for me I think of the toy industry as an industry that exists because of kids. The industry companies report that only 20 - 30% of their market is collectors. They even use kids as excuses. Recently there was a 4 inch green lantern movie line (go to any big box stores they have tons of these because no one bought them) that is one of the worst toy lines I have ever seen. Little articulation and almost no playability. When asked about it Mattel answered with "It's not geared at collectors its a children's line" with a line of thinking that children don't want quality toys.
All of that said if you go down the toy aisles you see lots and lots of toys that are obviously aimed at collectors, with special multi-packs , 6 inch figures, and prices that are way out of reach for children to acquire. And of course children can't get to the stores like adults can, adults can frequent stores whenever they are able, so by the time kids get there all of the good stuff that they want are gone. Not to mention the crappy limited packs of figures in boxes.
I will say that this post is mostly about boys toys, for the most part girls toys are thriving now, with more aisles than they have had for sometime, and I might say some of the best girls toys to come out for a while. What does this say about the trends of the industry?
Now when brought up on the forum there were some good responses, the most common being "It's not collectors it's video games" which is a valid point. I have a few nephews and they really could care less about toys, and would much rather play with a video game, some of them come equipped with a DS wherever they go. Toys are unimportant to them because they like the fictional world that is created for them on the screen. So are video games imagination killers?
I'm not going to be so bold as to say that, but I will say this: the toys that I grew up with were very good at being story toys. they were evocative in design and concept, they worked toward telling a story . I enjoyed . . . and lets face it. . . still enjoy delving into a world of fiction with my toys. Don't get me wrong, As a kid and now, I enjoy a good video game. The selection around my house is not as impressive as it once was, but I enjoy it from time to time.
Now of course this could come down to a a lot more than what I mentioned here. Parrenting styles (not a criticism just noting that there is an option here), As I mentioned before selection in the toy aisles, and of course the obsession with electronics in today's society. Some of this comes from advertising, or the lack of it. A few days ago I posted about Masters of the Universe toy commercials from the 80s, these used to be the norm, now they are few and far between. On the other hand Video Game commercials are every where.
So lots to think about, but what do you think? Why do you think the toy aisles are becoming emptier?