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Let us go back 25-30 years. To the time where Action Force and Barbie were the dominating brands in the toy department. By their side were also LEGO and Playmobile. Toys were gender-specific, made of hard plastic and no one had heard of BPA and the like.
Typically, the boys played War and the girls played The Party or Fine Dining. It was easy, and computers were the size of a box and called Commodore64 or were PCs with a slow processor 2MB RAM and no Internet.
“Interactive” was not a word that was used in relation to toys and the closest we came to interactive in general was a real flight simulator that the pilots used to practice before they had to sit in the real cockpit.
With the Internet’s expansion and endless possibilities, the technology and our outlook on toys and games in general developed greatly.
Three trends have been established within the toy department, and we will look closer at each of them.
The first one is the blurring of gender roles. More and more manufacturers are making toys that appeal to both genders, which is tactically smart and ultimately liberating. Look at the two latest Star Wars movies, where the lead character are women. The independent Rey easily stands for the early manly character of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now we have a strong and independent woman in the lead of battle. Is that bad? Not at all – actually, it means that both the movie and the relevant merchandise attract more of a wide group and appeal to both girls and boys, men and women. Star Wars makes toys of remotely controlled androids like BB8 or R2-D2 that both appeal to boys and girls, and even the commercials for the toys use the word “kids” and not specifically “boys” or “girls”, which suggests that they are made for everyone.
There is no doubt that interactive toys are starting to dominate the market more and more. This trend is completely understandable. Because if you get the chance to talk to your toy, and it actually answers and can follow a conversation, it is more fun, as well as more challenging and educative for children. Interactive toys do not have to be expensive. Take, for example, the interactive version of Finding Dory toy where the child and Dory have to try speaking “whale language”. Dory can record the child’s voice and then play it in a “whale language” and then respond to the child. The price is £14,69, so it is not expensive.
Even though one of the tendencies is that the genders, “girl toys” and “boy toys” are disappearing, there are still dolls that are primarily targeted to girls.
Earlier they were called Baby Born and the dolls could cry if you turned them upside down. They could also pee if you pressed on their stomach after filling them with water. Today they are something different and the selection is great. The monotone howl is replaced with realistic baby sounds in far better quality and frequency. Now the doll also moves realistically. Instead of having to fill it up with water, the doll now drinks the water after which it can cry with tears and pee. Even its proportions are of a new-born baby. The interactive element can be clearly seen in the child being able to calm the doll down with a baby bottle or a pacifier, to which the doll reacts by closing its eyes and quieting down.
The same happens, if it is hugged, then the doll reacts by a satisfied sigh or laughter. The dolls cost around £50 and have all the mentioned effects, so it is quite reasonable. In any case, the skills have really developed in the last few years, and the price has not gone up crazy high.
Not everyone follows trends, and trends sometimes turn back to the origins. Some toys go back to the roots. Denmark’s most innovative toy LEGO holds on to their roots of collecting and building LEGOs, while they develop child’s creativity and imagination. This is a good example of a toy that stays. Some of the new players on the field are also in on going back to origins. Nerf is also a good example – it is a popular toy for children that miss playing war. Nowadays, though, it is more Modern Warfare that is played. Nerf stands for “non-expanding recreational form” and it is about allowing girls and boys to blast at each other with foam “bullets” that shoot up to 30 meters far. The open space is becoming the children’s playground once more.
There is no doubt that app-control and interactivity are in trend. But technology sets boundaries for us anyway.
It is difficult to predict the future, but artificial intelligence (AI) will surely be a game changer, not just in toys but in the world. Think, if toys can follow a conversation with the child and teach the child, for example, the basics of math or spelling, tables, grammar forms, and explain their mistakes? That already exists today in the form of apps, but it is not yet integrated as a part of children’s toys. Virtual reality is beginning to take hold again and has gotten its renaissance. For example, Sony with their latest release of Playstation 4 and their VR has a steady hold on the market.
The big yellow mouse, Pikachu, and all the other Pokemons and pocket creatures originated from Japan. They first saw the light of day many years ago and became a huge worldwide hit. When we just thought that Pokemon was dying out, Pokemon Go app launched, and it was once again ground-breaking. It was now a real hunt that challenged children and adults with a young soul to go around the real world with their GPS on to find Pokemons via smartphone’s camera.
The whole idea with using an app, GPS, camera, and hunting will definitely continue to be a hit in the near future. If not, then for sure it would be implemented into a marketing strategy – what if it was offers you were hunting? An Easter egg that could only be discovered by one person, and that would give a big discount or, even better, a gift card? It is a good bet that this form of Go-Marketing will become more and more common, both as a way to pass time and as an actual marketing strategy. Until then we get to play a bit with the app and hunt some Pokemons!
If you are missing a birthday or Christmas gift for the youngest members of the family, take a look at our great world of toys for children of all ages. For the toddlers we have many of cute soft plush toys, activity rugs and teething rings that can entertain the little one for some hours. We also offer the popular bObles range of children furniture that supports and helps your child when they start to explore the world around them. For the slightly older kids, we have a big selection of classic toys from LEGO and Playmobil meant for both girls and boys. The limit is only your imagination, when you can play with pirate ships and knights, or horse-riding and princess castles. If your child is at the stage where racing and cars are more interesting, we also have a wide selection of cars from the Disney movie with the same name, as well as more LEGO and Playmobil sets that allow the child to be either a policeman or a thief in their own city. Should it be fashion that is of interest, then Barbie can be dressed for both everyday and party before she gets in her pink car and drives off. If you child wants to try out the role of a mother, there are plenty of possibilities for that with a sweet doll from Baby Born. If creativity should be challenged, there is a wide assortment of markers and pencils, or fun new elastics from Rainbow Loom that can unleash your creativity and become beautiful jewellery pieces.
We know what children play with, so you will find everything you need for the perfect gift or surprise to the smallest ones in the family. We have a wide selection of toys with all price levels. No matter if you need a big knight fortress or a princess castle for a big birthday party, or would just like to surprise the child with a small pack of LEGO, we have it at Coolshop in our wide selection of affordable toys for competitive prices, where everyone can participate. If you are going to Halloween or another dress-up party, we have a selection of great costumes that will for sure be a sensation at the party. Want to be a Hello Kitty or a minion? Our whole selection of toys is chosen based on the things that interest children today. You will not go wrong by shopping with us. Remember that the delivery is already included in the price, so you do not need to figure out how much one or another order will be. We have many happy and satisfied customers and we are glad to welcome you to our world of exciting and fun toys online.