So, when I enter a Wal-mart or Target, the first place I go is the Toy aisles .
For the last few years, I’ve noticed that the aisles and shelves seem to be a bit thin. It’s quite common to find many pegs and spots just empty of product. We all know that Target stock is always scarce. Yet, now I see this at Walmarts. Why is this?
- Today’s toys are very rarely supported by an active TV shows or Comic Books. Yes, every freakin movie gets some kind of toy tie-in but half the time, I don’t think they do any target research to see if kids even want these toys. TV shows and Comic books allow for continued story telling and allows the property to stay in the kids minds for years. With the exception of Star Wars (which is an anomaly), no movie has support a toy line successfully more than 6 months after the movie is released. In the 80s, we had great toy lines He-man and Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe- TV shows. The 80s and 90s gave great Marvel and DC superhero toys – Comic Books. In the 90s, Batman: The Animated Series supported a figure line – TV show. Good Star Trek can give you a nice collector toy line, i.e. the 90s Playmates line – TV show. But today, we only have Star Wars – weak sequel movies – Jurassic Park / World toys – movie – and toys for the remake of Space Jam..
- Today’s toys are just too damn expensive. The average action figure price is $9.99. And if you go for the larger 6 inch figures, those go for $19.99 or more. What kid is spending their allowance on this? What parent is spending this to give their child the toy when asked? Honestly, they are not! These toy lines are supported solely on adult collectors. This is why that many of these big box stores are now putting toys in two spots in the stores. Some go in the Toy Aisle and some go in another section for collectibles. Can action figures be cheaper? I would exclaim why not! Hot Wheels have been less than .99 cents for 30 years. Not only do kids love cars, but you can buy dozens of these cars for only a few dollars more than an action figure. Even many nice car toys in the 1:64 scale can price from 3.99 to 7.99. Today, they have the RE-RELEASE of He-man and Masters of the Universe figures. Walmart price is $14.99. They were only $4.99 in 1982. And I remember that was expensive because Star Wars and G.I.Joe were about $2.99. Again, these aren’t toys, but adult collectibles.
- Today toys companies are run by morons. Outside of a few long term favorites like Hot Wheels, Barbie and the anomaly that is Star Wars, what action figure toy has been on the shelves for so long? None. What action play toy has been a staple of the Toy Aisle? None. Why hasn’t any toy company actually invested in creating a toy line that will stand the test of time? This is what Mattel did with He-man in the late 70s and early 80s. It was to be a competitor of Star Wars. Instead, these companies lazily rely on movie properties. They are willing to pay millions of dollars for licensing instead of creating a strong IP internally. Take Hasbro for example. They own the G.I.Joe brand solely. Yet, this company has constantly failed on making this toy line successful. It has always been plagued by short supply with the releases in 2007 and again in 2020. Why weren’t these figures filling pegs? Every figure sold would put full profit into their pocket. Instead, they continue to pump out Star Wars figures and pay the 50% to Lucasfilm. The same folks that run these companies clearly don’t research their market.
- Today toys can’t compete with video games. Bullshit, I say. I disagree with this statement that I constantly hear when I discuss these very topics. I see kids in the toy aisles wanting toys — like Legos, Action Figures, Nerf Guns and Barbie dolls. Children don’t invest all their time in just video games. Yet, you need to give them a good toy for a good price and they will sell. And the gravy on the steak would be the adult collectors who would buy them too. Yet, first these companies need to MAKE TOYS. Fill those pegs and work on distribution and market research.
Okay. Thats today’s thought on Toys. I could discuss this and these topics for hours.
To all those that want good toys…. Good hunting!