Toy manufacturers think more grown-up

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One of the largest toy retailers and retailers in China is banking on a new market with a view of the landscape after Covid-19: adults.

The company, Kidsland International Holdings Ltd., is hoping to increase demand in Asia for so-called pop toys – collectible cartoon characters for adults – as it, along with other Chinese consumer companies, represents a recovery from the pandemic.

Kidsland, which sells products from Denmark’s Lego A / S in Greater China, opened its first permanent toy store kkplus in Hong Kong in July, selling products such as “Garfield” and “Tom and Jerry” figures. The Hong Kong-based company plans to roll out kkplus in the mainland in 2022, Sherman Hung, assistant chief executive officer and chief financial officer, told Bloomberg News in an interview.

“We have already spoken to various partners in mainland China, with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen being our main destinations,” said Hung. “We believe that the ‘children’s market’ will be as big as the traditional toy market in three to five years.

The move to expand beyond children’s toys comes as Kidsland looks to bounce back from a 20% drop in sales in 2020 after the pandemic disrupted sales channels and dampened consumer sentiment across China. The company says it is the largest toy retailer and distributor in China by retail sales.

While life in China has largely returned to normal after the initial spread of Covid, the flare-up of cases has kept consumers in suspense and sectors from restaurants to supermarkets are still weak as people move away from social gatherings and visits in physical Stay away from business. Kidsland’s stationary retail network includes around 670 of its own shops and counters as well as a further 3,000 sales outlets.

Sales of toys geared towards social interaction or bought by impulse buyers have suffered during the pandemic, Hung said, while those conducive to home time – including board games and puzzles – have remained popular.

“It’s really an uneven recovery,” he said.

Kidsland also sells products from brands such as US-based Little Tikes and toy train and rail maker Brio AB.

China’s toy market – poised to become the largest in the world by 2022, overtaking the US $ 25 billion industry, according to Bloomberg Intelligence – is seeing more competition in the pop toy arena.

Budget-friendly household and consumer goods retailer Miniso Group Holding Ltd. made its foray into the sale of toys, including collectable cartoon characters, in late 2020. Pop Mart International Group Ltd., a local freshman who raised $ 643 million on its Hong Kong IPO last December, is known for selling its dolls in “blind boxes” that people don’t know until after they buy them what they get, what adds the element of chance to the fun.

The Chinese collectible designer toy market is currently valued at $ 6 billion and will grow 50% to $ 9 billion by 2023, according to analyst iiMedia Research.

The kkplus store appeals more to a more mature adult market than teenagers or early twenties, Hung said, starting with the price tags: A bronze Mickey Mouse figure costs $ 3,860.

“Over time, mainland China will be our main playground,” he said. “We decided to start in Hong Kong to test and build a platform and to network with partners, programs and artists in order to open up this market.”


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