The Insights People, the world's leading market researcher for children, tweens and teens, specialises in research and insights about children aged 3-18 and their ecosystems. The company surveys more than 5,000 children on five continents and in 13 countries every week. In light of this, they reveal predictions for 2021. The predicted trends are based on the attitudes, behaviours and consumption patterns of children, tweens and teens, looking at their lives both online and offline. In general, the outlook for the toy industry is very good with tween kids willing to spend. In the UK, France and Spain, they spend more than £3,000,000 on INXP (In-Experience-Purchasing) every month. But what are they willing to spend their money on?
The kids ecosystem is digital
One of the key trends is ‘A New Dawn for Digital Spend’, which spans across so many different elements of the kids ecosystem. In the kids industry, the digitisation of education and socialisation has led to a surge in the younger generation’s access to technology. In the UK, two thirds of tweens now have access to a mobile phone. In France, we have seen more than a 20% year-on-year increase in mobile ownership amongst the same age group.
This generation are as comfortable existing in a virtual world as they are the physical, and they expect a seamless integration between the two. Many key development milestones are just as likely to be reached today in a virtual world as the physical; a child’s first concert for example could just as likely happen within the gaming platform as it could in a real-life venue.
Continued growth in digital games
Video games have provided a platform for content and marketing opportunities during the pandemic – Travis Scott’s virtual concert in Fortnite, the most popular console game amongst tweens in the UK, France, Italy and Spain, amassed a world record 12 million concurrent users. Other games and artists have collaborated since, such as Lil Nas X’s virtual concert on Roblox, the most popular PC game amongst UK tweens. It is likely that this trend will continue even once artists can tour again – the ability to reach a global audience of kids in an instant is not something a real-life gig can offer. With this development comes licensing opportunity also – cosmetic items can be offered in-game as a form of merchandise, akin to buying a t-shirt at a show. An average of 5% of teens across the UK, France and Spain now dedicate over £5 a month to in-experience spending.
Surge for more traditional toys
However, as lockdown restrictions prevailed and parents were working from home and kids weren’t in schools, the opportunity arose for families to come together offline, which is another key trend - the return of traditional hobbies. In the UK, we noticed a 63% year-on-year increase in the number of young teens playing board games with their parents. At their peak throughout lockdown, 38% of these kids were playing Monopoly as a family unit, while 33% were playing Articulate!. Board games being considered as a favourite toy for 5-18 olds have almost doubled across the UK, Italy, Spain and Germany.
For this reason, we can expect to see more innovation in the board game market moving forward, as companies will seek to build on this recent success with new developments, but also look at ways to enhance the traditional offering with digital elements that kids are already accustomed to. Nintendo is already innovating in this industry, merging a digital gaming experience with a traditional, customisable board game. Mattel Television is currently developing a game show based on Uno, which will incorporate audience participation, while the game Articulate! produced an online version of their cards so that people could play online via video call, at no additional cost. The amalgamation of the digital and physical as the lines continue to blur will be a key trend to watch as we move into 2021.