Here at Keycraft, we are continuously researching consumer psychology, analysing our data and industry trends, and making sure that we are at the forefront of our game (excuse the pun). We do this so that the insights we share with our clients are truths that will deliver value for their businesses.
One of our insights focuses on parent appeal. It’s no surprise that parents and grandparents are more inclined to purchase a toy for a child if it ticks their own boxes. This is one of the reasons that retro toys have made a real comeback in recent years and continue to be a top seller. But what exactly is it about these toys that gives them so much appeal?
There was a time when social commentators were telling us that low-tech toys were out; go digital or die. It was around the same time they told us that e-books would wipe out books. And yet, here we are with ‘real’ books still outselling e-books, and retro toy sales increasing year-on-year. There are many reasons for this.
The obvious one is that, with warnings about limiting children’s screen-time, parents are looking for non-digital toys to keep their children entertained. Secondly, because children learn and grow through play, parents are choosing toys that will nurture this development: focussing not just on creativity and language skills, but also on developing fine motor skills, an understanding of cause and effect, and nurturing their child’s imaginative and inquisitive nature.
For some, going retro is a rebellion against the new digital age and the pervasiveness of over-engineered toys that quite often lack in quality and durability. There’s a nostalgic element too. Parents remember with affection the toys of their childhood, and the touch and feel of them trigger these strong, emotive memories. Understandably they want their children to feel these same warm feelings and to experience the happy times they had.
Then there’s value for money. Parents, grandparents and so on, tired of toys that break as soon as they are tugged from the box by an over-enthusiastic child, want toys that last. Retro toys offer great design that stands the test of time, and this good design is underpinned by quality craftsmanship. This all adds up to good value in the eyes of the consumer.
It would be an injustice to say that no modern toys have the same qualities, but clearly parents and grandparents feel instinctively that they can trust toys from their generation in a way that they perhaps don't feel about their more contemporary counterparts.
For all these reasons, and more, retro toys have genuine parent appeal that isn't likely to disappear anytime soon. In fact, ironically, it looks like retro, is the new ‘now’.
But parent appeal isn’t just limited to retro toys. By understanding the complex thinking that switches on these reasons to buy, we are able to develop products and curate ranges that maximise opportunities to make sales.
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