The Toy Retailers Association (TRA) has this year forecast record UK toy sales exceeding £3.3 billion, with £1.1 billion expected on Christmas sales alone. The TRA estimates that each child will receive an average of nine toys as gifts this Christmas, totalling an average of £105.
The TRA also announced its Top 12 DreamToys for Christmas 2016 which includes the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster from Hasbro, Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage by Mattel and the popular Hatchimals product by Spin Master Toys.
Last year the TRA featured three Star Wars products in its DreamToys list which accompanied the release of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. This year there is just one Star Wars product in the DreamToys list – the LEGO Rebel U-Wing Fighter which accompanies the movie release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Toy Retailers Association basket pricing
On 20 October 2016, Tesco CEO Matt Davies announced that the retailer would price check against Argos on “over 8,000 products including the most loved toys” so that shoppers can “get everything they need under one roof.”
Reviewing the shelf price of the TRA DreamToys list on 10 November showed that Tesco Direct was cheaper than Argos on all twelve items. Tesco’s effort to price check against Argos was clear as nine of the twelve items were almost exactly five percent cheaper than Argos.
Due to its price checking, Tesco Direct was the sole cheapest retailer on seven of the twelve toys. The retailer was however undercut by Smyths Toys on the remaining five products. Smyths Toys was the sole cheapest retailer on four of these toys and the joint cheapest retailer with Toys ‘R’ Us on the Paw Patrol Air Patroller Plane.
Very was generally the most expensive retailer, with eight of the most expensive listings just ahead of The Entertainer (TheToyShop.com) which was the most expensive for seven of the toys.
Shelf pricing from 10 November 2016
Last year the Hamleys and TRA top Christmas toys lists shared three products – the Little Live Pets Cleverkeet, Flair Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck Playset and Vivid Imaginations Thunderbirds Are Go Interactive Tracy Island Playset. This year the lists do not feature any exact product matches, but both include a Nerf gun, LEGO Star Wars set and Paw Patrol toy.
The Hamleys basket also includes Hamleys’ Magic Showcase set and the 4th generation BeanBoozled spinner game which were both not listed in the other retailers analysed and have therefore not been included in the analysis.
Tesco’s price check against Argos can also be seen in relation to the Hamleys basket as four of the eight products analysed were exactly five percent cheaper on the Tesco Direct website than Argos. However, at the time of analysis, Argos was cheaper than Tesco Direct on the Nerf N-Strike Mega Mastodon Blaster, charging £52.99 compared to £65.00 on the Tesco Direct website. Despite this, on the following day, Tesco Direct had reduced its price to £50.34 – exactly 5 percent cheaper than Argos.
While Tesco Direct price checked against Argos, it was only cheapest on four of the seven toys listed. Argos was the cheapest for the N-Strike Mega Mastodon Blaster, Smyths Toys was the cheapest for the Paw Patrol Zoomer Marshall and Very was the cheapest for the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX – Midnight Blue.
The Star Wars Virtual Reality Viewer was only available on the Argos and Very website – Argos was £2.00 cheaper.
Shelf pricing from 10 November 2016 *Shelf price was for the pink variation of the product.
Last year Brand View assessed the compliance of retailers’ toy listings – for example the listing of the LEGO Star Wars Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle in Argos did not include the word ‘Ren’. This could have potentially confused shoppers and may have resulted in lost sales to a competitor.
This year, Argos once again had compliance issues present in toy listings which affected the Discoverability of these popular Christmas toys on its site. The retailer’s listing of the N-Strike Mega Mastodon Blaster did not contain “N-Strike” or “Mega”. All of the other retailers analysed included these phrases and therefore these products returned for the phrase “Nerf N-Strike”. The omission of these key terms in the Argos listing meant that it did not return for the same search term.
Argos website 14 November 2016 – Tesco Direct website 14 November 2016
Argos also omitted the apostrophe in “Krennic’s” on its listing of the LEGO Star Wars Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle. It also abbreviated “Rogue One” to “R1”, although this did not affect Discoverability – the product still returned for “Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle” and “LEGO Star Wars Rogue One”.
However, the product did not return for the key search term “LEGO Star Wars”. In fact more than 60 percent of the LEGO Star Wars range on the Argos website did not return for the search term “LEGO Star Wars”. Only 21 products returned for the term, not the full 55 products listed on the LEGO Star Wars shelf.
Argos “LEGO Star Wars” search 14 November 2016 & LEGO Star Wars category shelf, Argos, 14 November 2016
Retailers should ensure that their toy listings feature accurate product names, so that Discoverability of popular products is not impacted during this potentially record breaking festive season. Brand View will be tracking the Hamleys and Toy Retailers Association basket over the next six weeks to see how the products are promoted both during the Black Friday weekend and in the run up to Christmas.
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