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Toy Wonders New Arrivals

February 20, 2009

Greetings!

A few shipments arrived this week. If you log into your account at www.toywonders.com, before clicking on any of the links below, approved wholesale accounts will see wholesale pricing.

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DIECAST Collectible Model Cars And More

Item# Description Stock Status
3616BU Sun Star USA - Ford Mustang Hard Top (1971, 1:18 scale diecast model, Pastel Blue) 3616BU New
4009D Kinsmart - Toyota Cami SUV (4", Asstd.) 4009D New
4015D Kinsmart - Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan Hard Top (2002, 4", Asstd.) 4015D New
4018D Kinsmart - Mazda RX-7 (4", Asstd.) 4018D Restock
4025D Kinsmart - Toyota Prius Hard Top (4", Asstd.) 4025D New
5005D Kinsmart - Chevy Suburban School Bus (1950, 1:36, 4.5", Yellow) 5005D Restock
5007D Kinsmart - Super Formula F1 (Asstd.) 5007D Restock
324SL National Air Force Collection (IC Sound & Light) 324SL Restock
9998D Super Bike (4", Asstd.) 9998D Restock
994SL Thunder Unit Police Car w/ IC sound (4.75", Asstd.) 994SL Restock
51180 Mail Truck (5.75") 51180 Restock
408D Air Whale Helicopters (5", Asstd.) 408D Restock
51300 X Planes Airforce (6.5", Blue) 51300 Restock
51301 X Planes - Blue Air Force (9", Blue) 51301 Restock
51355D Space Shuttle (7.5") 51355D Restock

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Thank you

Lu Su
Toy Wonders, In
c.
www.toywonders.com
201-229-1700

Lu Su

God and the Art of Toy and Diecast Marketing
Challenges Ahead
By Lu Su

The 2009 Toy Fair concluded a couple of days ago with little fan fare. Toy Fair is a marketing exposition held once a year in New York City. Basically a great majority of companies that manufacturer or distribute traditional toys come together and do an exhibition together. Because the focus is on children's traditional toys, you would not typically find companies that market video or computer games at the event.

I know the media and show management did their best to spin the entire event as a great success (they need exhibitors and attendees to return); but as a exhibitor I noticed the foot traffic was down. In the past it would be very difficult to find a parking spot near the Jacob Javits center. Also in the past, the opening day would often be marked with great throngs of people; thus making it difficult to just walk down an aisle. I noticed that both difficulties were absent this year. And I understand why. When the economic situation is poor, people are less apt to travel. But I also know there are many other contributing factors.

In my opinion, the two biggest contributing factors that makes marketing of traditional toys more challenging each year is 1) the expansion of the internet and 2) large production capacity. As you know the internet continues to greatly reshape how business is conducted for all types of businesses -not just toys. In the past, if you wanted information on what are the new products, you had to attend the show. Now new product information is often just a click away. And I think many of you already know, the internet has greatly affected the music, phone, video and a whole host of other businesses.

Video and computer games for years now have continue to grow in popularity, while at the same time eat into the market share of the traditional toy market. I remember speaking to my Mattel representative who was asked to retire last December (I guess he was given an offer that he could not refuse). He had been in the Toy Industry for a very long time (over 35 years). He told me that Barbie once enjoyed an age range of ages 3 to 18; but now has a targeted age range of ages 5 to 8.
"By the time girls hit 9 or 10, they will spend more time IM-ing or Emailing than playing with toys", remarked my rep.
Interesting, those two words didn't even exist half a generation ago. I can directly relate to that statement; because I can see from my four kids that the great majority of their free time is spent playing video or computer games -not traditional toys. And I know it is not because of a lack of them. We have closets, cabinets and shelves full of traditional toys (i.e. blocks, board games, cards, robots, Elmo).

The large production capacity affects the toy industry because once a decent item is developed, demand for that item is quickly met. Consequently, the product life cycle is shortened. In the past when a hit product was developed, toy marketers could enjoy a few years of distributing that item. Now that window of opportunity has shrunk to basically one season. This causes all companies in the distribution channel to take greater risks (without greater reward). "How many units of this "hit" product do you want X weeks/months from now?" Commit now, or you won't have it. The shorter life cycle also translates into greater risk in research and development (R & D). What spurs sales? New products and innovation. For the most part the amount of money spent on R&D in the traditional toy market continues to decrease. In the past we could enjoy seeing about a dozen new prototypes from each new toy manufacturer. Now we are lucky to see three (and most of them are old products in a new box).

So for the most part, all companies that take part in the distribution of traditional toys continue to face challenges -as the internet and production capacity continues to expand. To make matters even more challenging, last year our government has passed some new safety and labeling laws that have good intentions; but will serve to drive more companies that market traditional toys out of that type of business. I think the overwhelming response from people in my industry is that business environment is already challenging. And compliance to the set of laws comes at a very bad time -in this current market situation.

The traditional toy industry is morphing into something new. What it will look like in the end is unknown to me at this time. Lucky for a handful of us, we do not meet this challenge alone. Our trust is in the Lord.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

-Psalms 19:7

 

 

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