There’s been a lot of ink spilled in the pages of the trade and consumer pubs about the growth of the youth electronics category in the last two years, and if the sales performance of 30-year-old Sakar International is any indication the market is continuing to expand at a good clip. The Edison, New Jersey-based electronics manufacturer has seen a 20% increase in sales of its kids products (it has a 95% market share in kids digital cameras) over the past three years, and is looking to keep the momentum going with its newly minted licensing division.
Liza Abrams, who worked most recently for 4Kids Entertainment in New York, now heads up the venture as director of licensing and is charged with cherry picking kids entertainment IPs, and sports and brand licenses to pad out Sakar’s product lineup. Along with inking a Major League Baseball deal, Sakar has picked up rights for Shrek 3, Spider-Man 3 and classic Spider-Man.
In Q1 2007, Sakar’s bringing the big green ogre and the webbed one to its mass retail distribution network that includes Wal-Mart, Target and Toys ‘R’ Us. Lead Shrek product the Nature Swamp Kit is an innovative application of the license that draws on Shrek’s home base for inspiration and meshes hi- and low-tech items. It comes in several versions and green (Shrek) and pink (Fiona) colorways, ranging in price from US$11 to US$21. The kits include combinations of a tent, magnifying glass, flashlight, binoculars and, perhaps most importantly for amateur entomologists, plastic bugs.
As for Spider-Man, Sakar has digital cameras and an array of flashlights – from a basic model to a souped up number that comes with different lenses that project 3-D images on walls and ceilings – on deck to support the film. Classic Spider-Man, meanwhile, gets his own spy-oriented line, which includes walkie-talkies, binoculars and tricked-out devices.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2007 and 2008, Abrams says she’s on the hunt for a solid tween girls license, a few preschool properties and perhaps another event film. The company has cut its teeth in the tween girl electronics category by executing several private-label lines for the likes of retailers such as Limited Too. Digital cameras have been the staple and Abrams adds the company works continually with software developers to create different camera kits that appeal to girls’ creative sides. For example, there’s a scrapbooking camera and another that prints photos as stickers.
Not to be left out on the preschool side, Sakar has a proprietary line of products called My First, which includes beginner microscopes, digital cameras and flashlights. Naturally, Abrams says Sakar is looking at expanding the product assortment for both demos with the right properties.