Toy market news

Next-Gen toy stores

A new era of specialty retailers lead play into the future

In a world dominated by mass retail, the buy-it-now mentality, and same-day delivery, the shopping experience can feel pretty industrial - especially as these blind purchases are fulfilled by a faceless workforce. The in-person discovery and impulse buys that consumers can only experience in a hands-on environment get lost in a fast-paced, tech-reliant society, and perhaps no other category is more affected than the toy and game industry.

After years of digital retail growth, life during the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a new interest in returning to brick-and-mortar stores. As supply chain issues flipped the script and resulted in better product selection in-store versus online, many people rediscovered that they actually like shopping in person.

Across the U.S. and Canada, independent, specialty toy retailers - once expected to be decimated by pandemic-related closures - have found new ways to connect with local families. They are harnessing new technologies and planting the flag for toy stores to become destinations in their local communities.

New stores are opening their doors while existing retailers are, in some cases, passing the torch to the next generation of owners, all of whom are keenly reactive to the needs and interests of their customers. One constant remains true: Independent, neighborhood toy stores deliver a human element that mass retailers can’t match.