Consumer Products

Parents still buying traditional toys

American parents may be quickly evolving with the digital times, but their toy purchasing habits, apparently, have hardly changed. That's according to market research firm The NPD Group's latest Evolution of Play report.
July 25, 2013

American parents may be quickly evolving with the digital times, but their toy-purchasing habits, apparently, have hardly changed. That’s according to market research firm The NPD Group’s recent Evolution of Play report, which found that parents’ interest in buying electronics is well balanced with expenditures on traditional toys, including games.

The report, which focuses on how parents of kids ages two to 12 think about toys and technology and discovered that 51% of parents felt electronic devices had no impact at all on their child’s play time, has identified five distinct segments of parents, which are categorized by More Is Better, Child Pleasers, Parent Knows Best, Passives and Minimalists.

Of course, the More Is Better parenting segment, while only representing 15% of parents, makes up 41% of total spending on both traditional toys like dolls and action figures as well as electronic toys such as apps and hardware.  The study also says that these ‘indulgent’ parents are still relatively conservative when it comes to allowing the use of technology and setting purchasing budgets.  This demographic is easiest to sell to, as it shops frequently and believes in the positive power of play.

The Child Pleasers segment, meanwhile, wants kids to have more than they did growing up, and therefore at 21% revenue share are more susceptible to impulse shopping.  Naturally, the Parents Know Best segment is the most selective and often favors educational experiences, is less influenced by advertising and imposes limits on tech time. However, this group isn’t afraid to spend more on toys that hold valuable play experiences.

Passive parents, all 22% of them, tend to be older and have older children, and they do not partake in the impulse shopping that’s typical of younger families. Minimalist parents – making up the largest segment at 22% – are hardest to market to, with spending below average despite healthy household income levels.

From a marketing perspective, the report highlights the important role that educational toys – whether they are traditional or electronic – can play a major role in swaying parents who are otherwise reluctant to make purchases.

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