For most of the year, children have been prevented from seeing their friends, playing in parks or having birthday parties, and analysts say parents will try to make it up to them during the holidays.
Deals are everywhere
Retailers are extending by weeks or months the usually frenzied discount windows like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, giving shoppers more opportunities to find holiday deals.
“In an effort to cut down on crowds and the stampede mentality that single-day events such as Black Friday tend to invite, many retailers are putting emphasis on great deals all season, and the season has already begun,” said James Zahn, senior editor of The Toy Insider and The Toy Book trade publications. “Overall, I’m optimistic that we’ll likely see the year come out flat or slightly ahead.”
Independent toy stores are following big retailers’ lead, encouraging families who want to avoid potential crowds and missing out on sellout items to get an early start on holiday shopping.
It’s easier than ever to shop online
With brick and mortar stores shuttered or limiting capacity, online shopping has become more mainstream than ever.
Silver anticipates more than 50% of this year’s holiday toy purchases will be made online, even more than last year when Amazon, Walmart and Target enjoyed the bulk of ecommerce sales.
“You’re going to see online sales reach a level that’s never been seen in the toy industry,” Silver said.
Curbside pickup sales have also skyrocketed for retailers such as Walmart and Target. BMO Capital Markets toy industry analyst Gerrick Johnson expects toy shoppers to take advantage of the ability to buy online and pick up items in person, which some customers prefer over home delivery.
“People still want to go to the store, but they want to make sure their items are in stock,” Johnson told CNN Business.
One potential hiccup for toy makers
“It’s not going to be like last year, but there’s still some carry over,” Silver said.
For example, last year’s hit “Avengers: Endgame” generated more than $1 billion action figure and other intellectual property sales.
“I think those Marvel characters are still going to do fairly well as there’s no other new things to pull away from those classics,” Johnson said.
“This year the number one action property is going to be Baby Yoda,” Silver said.