Back To All Articles

Amazon Isn’t the New Toys ‘R’ Us. But, YouTube Might Be.

There is no disputing that Amazon has not only been a major disrupter in the toy Industry, but it has also been one in the overall retail industry. After all, who doesn’t have a brown box adorned with that recognizable Amazon smile sitting on their doorstep at least once a week?

Nicole Ronchetti  |  March 16, 2018
Amazon Isn’t the New Toys ‘R’ Us. But, YouTube Might Be.

There is no disputing that Amazon has not only been a major disrupter in the toy Industry, but it has also been one in the overall retail industry. After all, who doesn’t have a brown box adorned with that recognizable Amazon smile sitting on their doorstep at least once a week?

Parents shop at Amazon because it’s easy. Kid asks for a toy. Parent inputs that toy’s name on Amazon. Toy shows up on the doorstep two days later. Pretty simple. Why, then, would any parent want to browse the aisles of a toy store? The truth is that adults have never wanted to hang out at Toys ‘R’ Us; they went out of necessity.

So, we can all agree that Amazon is the perfect solution for parents. It’s an easier, saner way to shop for toys. But, parents aren’t the decision-makers when it comes to toy purchases; kids are. According to a recent Toy Industry Association Study, 80% of toys purchased by parents are exactly what a child has requested.

Is this new? Of course not. What is new, however, is how a child discovers the toys that they eventually beg for.

And that is where Toys ‘R’ Us could no longer play the role that they once did.

In the 1980’s heyday of Toys R Us, there was one driving force in toy retailing. Every kid wanted to be a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid. It was a magical place where children could see all of the toys that they wanted. And, even more, it was a place where they could discover new toys that they didn’t even know they wanted yet.

For toy companies, especially the smaller, more unknown ones, Toys ‘R’ Us was more than a store—it was a giant, living advertisement that was designed to target impressionable children.

So, why did it stop working? Because kids are no longer discovering toys in this way today.

Mom might shop at Amazon. But for kids, the new Toys ‘R’ Us is YouTube.

Today, kids are discovering toys on YouTube in a very 21st century way—a completely virtual way. Influencer videos not only show a toy, but they also show a toy being carefully opened or unboxed, seamlessly put together, and then played with. These videos display the delight that another child has by interacting with the toy. And, in really, really, great videos, they have the child creating elaborate and imaginative storylines with the toy. Now, kids live the entire play experience through another kid’s eyes. The result? “Mom, I really want this!” The same phrase that used to echo throughout the aisles of the toy store now comes straight from the living room sofa.

Kids love YouTube. For the past several years, YouTube has been considered the “most loved brand” by kids,* beating out iconic kids brands like Disney, Oreo, LEGO and, yes, Toys ‘R’ Us. According to an eMarketer, December 2017 “Digital Lives of Kids” study, 45% of kids 8-12 have their own YouTube account. And, can you guess what they are watching? Toy videos. According to eMarketer, 34% of kids ages 8 and younger watch unboxing/product demonstration videos regularly. The top kid influencer channels like Ryan’s Toys Reviews (over 10 million YouTube subscribers) and Evantube (over 4 million YouTube subscribers) have hundreds of thousands of views per video. And kids will watch these videos for as long as Mom and Dad will allow them to. YouTube Creators cites the average current YouTube viewing session at 40 minutes, which his up 50% from a year ago.

Why does it work so well?

Kids can’t venture to a store on their own, but they can get onto YouTube all by themselves. And, once they are there, the content is on-demand and thoughtfully designed to keep them there. While they are browsing through videos that peak their interest, YouTube will, of course, suggest other videos that they may like, too.

Of course, we cannot dismiss the power of the influencer. Child influencers are cute, energetic and, most importantly, they have all of the toys (all of them!). These would have been the kids that we all wanted to play with in 1987. These are the kids that regular kids can relate to, but also look up to.

So, how do small toy manufacturers survive in a post-Toys ‘R’ Us world?

There are many articles predicting that the demise of Toys ‘R’ Us will have the greatest negative impact on smaller, lesser known toy brands. However, that doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, Toys ‘R’ Us shutting its doors should be seen as an opportunity for these brands to modernize their marketing strategies to reach children and parents in the ways that they now discover and shop—digitally and on-demand.

The days of fighting for shelf space and worrying about Q1 resets might be coming to an end. If YouTube is the new virtual shelf space, then there is no limit. Brands now control their own destiny, rather than leaving it in the hands of the retailer. So, with the right precision targeting, small brands have the same ability to get kids’ eyes on their products as the toy brand powerhouses. It’s an exciting time for toy marketing!

*2016 Brand Love Study; 2017 eMarker Digital Lives of Kids

Back To All Articles
 

Say Hello

877.403.6247  |  20 Headquarters Plaza, Morristown, NJ 07960

©2018 Revolution Digital

Hi there! I’m RevBot.