Holiday 2017 – Toy Shopping Insights and “Toys R Us” Creditor Protection Impacts

With this week’s announcement that “Toys R Us” is seeking creditor protection in both the US and Canada, we wanted to understand what impacts, if any, this new development would have on how Canadian parents plan to shop for Holiday Toys this Christmas season.

On Sept 19th and 20th, we surveyed 293 Canadian parents with children under the age of 18, and asked a number of questions about how they planned to shop for Toys for Holiday 2017. While we asked questions specifically about “Toys R Us” we also asked about how much they spend, where they prefer to shop and the role that on-line shopping will play as they search for their children’s “wish list”.

Overall, we found that the average household is planning to spend $368.26 on Toys & Video Games this Christmas and this represents a decline of about 7% vs. estimated actual spending in 2016. We also saw a wide disparity in the amount that families spend, with 60% of parents spending $200 or less on Toys at Christmas, while on the other end of the spectrum, 10% of families plan to spend $1000 or more on Toys & Video games this year.

In regards to “Toys R Us”, we found that 79% of parents shopped at “Toys R Us” for Holiday 2016 and despite the recent announcements from the chain, even more parents plan to shop at “Toys R Us” this holiday season. “It seems like the financial news about ‘Toys R Us’ will not deter parents from shopping at the chain as 86% said they planned to shop there this holiday season.” stated Jeff Doucette, General Manager, Field Agent Canada. “It is clear that ‘Toys R Us’ is a solid #2 player in the Canadian toy market.”

Among other leading Toy retailers we see Walmart in the top position with 77% of Canadian parents placing it in their Top 3 Holiday Toy Retailers, but a surprise was the strength of Costco, which made the list of Top 3 Holiday Toy retailers for 47% of respondents. “Costco takes Holiday Toy sales very seriously and they are very good at getting exclusive deals on toys that prove popular with children and their parents pocketbook” explained Doucette.

The study also showed the tremendous shifts that have happened in the Canadian Toy market over the past few decades. Sears Canada used to be a leader in this space with their Christmas Wish Book but in this survey, not one of the 293 respondents put Sears in their Top 3 Holiday Toy Retailers list.

Finally we explored the role on-line shopping will play in the Holiday Toy market in 2017 and we found a very high rate of acceptance in this category with 86% of parents saying that they would shop for Holiday Toys on-line this year; and 31% of those shoppers saying they would be spending more on-line this Holiday season compared to 2016. No wonder that Amazon was the fourth most popular Holiday Toy Retailer among Canadian parents!

“The toy wish list has officially moved from the catalog to the Internet.” said Doucette. “In order to be successful, traditional retailers will need to have a solid on-line and ‘bricks and mortar’ presence to retain parents who are searching for convenience, pricing and time savings from on-line players.

Download the FULL REPORT HERE.


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