Keeping it Playful: How Toy Industry is Coming Up with Various Innovations

Due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, the overall demand for domestic toys has increased by 25 percent since children have been locked up inside their homes.
Keeping it Playful: How Toy Industry is Coming Up with Various Innovations

India’s untapped toy sector displays a massive growth potential in the global toy industry. The Indian government has highlighted the promotion of exports and toy manufacturing in our country by formulating various schemes. Alongside, it is essential that the Indian toy manufacturers must come up with new, ground-breaking, and technologically advanced methods to enhance domestic toy production and exports.  

Our country although maybe the smallest market in terms of size, however, it is developing at the fastest rate with the largest population of kids. Nearly about 35 percent of India’s population falls under the age bracket of 14 years. India hence signifies the highest headroom for advancement when compared to any of the other key and mature markets. The global toy industry too recognizes India as a chosen market for their products.

Crafting toys for the current generation of children demands a very diverse approach than some ten years ago as the so-called Generation Alpha (children born from 2010 to 2025) are far more conscious than the previous one. Hence alongside sustainability, moving a step towards local empowerment has become the need of the hour, particularly in the post-pandemic world. Below mentioned are a couple of innovations that can be made in the way toys are being manufactured:

Due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, the overall demand for domestic toys has increased by 25 percent since children have been locked up inside their homes. To address this need, the government has been encouraging domestic toy manufacturing and exports through various initiatives. Along with the general compliances which amount to over 700 ranging from the Companies Act, SEBI Act, FEMA Act to Income Tax and Foreign Trade Act for factories and MSMEs, guidelines were required to be precisely made to safeguard that the toy industries are protected from unfair and extreme exploitation as well as products meet the global quality requirements. A lack of proper regulation in the past had caused degradation of product quality and failed endeavors to match the universal standards. However, this is no longer the case as the government has not only reinforced the prevailing significant factors but has also set up new compliances like providing BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification for the purpose of selling products in the market, to steer clear of the past policy inaccuracies. 

READ MORE: How Toy Industry is Evolving in India

Digital and Technological Advancement Leveraging the Growth of Indian Toy Industry: Digital progression in toys is leading to increasing application of Artificial Intelligence, particularly in STEM Toys. India has limited manufacturing competence in battery-operated, electronic, and technology-based toys but there is scope to scale this up in a medium to long-term period. Labor-intensive sub-segments instituting about 50 to 60 percent of the toys market can scale up instantly in India, considering an indigenization push to these segments which could, consequently, offer huge impetus to job generation. 

Hybrid Models on the Rise: Consumer behavior patterns have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, with over 76 percent of end-users moving towards e-commerce. Making note of this consumer buying sentiment, Indian toymakers are now hoping to make a comeback - by going online. Moreover, the hybrid business model is anticipated to enlarge online-led exports in the next few years. The brick-and-mortar model still continues to lurk amid the vagueness due to the outbreak, the answer to optimum retailing for offline retailers is to embrace the click-and-mortar business approach and pave their way forward. While there are some green shoots of recovery, the future clearly lies in adopting the hybrid business model. 

Sustainability will Continue to Persist: It is less likely to eliminate plastic totally out of toy products, hence most companies are coming up with innovative ways to highlight sustainability. Although adopting ethical practices might not solve the challenge of plastic in the world, it will certainly enable building new products without adding to the plastic waste problem.

Family Games is In-Thing: The pandemic enforced work-from-home model has made parents give more attention to their kids’ requirements and this has brought back the lost trend of families bonding over toys and games. Last year, the industry did witness a noticeable rise in the sales of family board games and this trend is likely to endure. There is also a rising demand for brain-boosting toys like complex building sets, fun board games, and challenging puzzles. 

Water Forms Dominating Factor in the Innovation Led by the Toy Industry: Toys that tend to renovate themselves by coming into contact with water and revealing a hidden message, color, or character have been gaining popularity. Craft toys that make use of water to create designs and are also trending. Educational toys that tend to teach kids about underwater life match manifold trends and as always bath and outdoor water toys are prevalent.  

Playing Dough, a Safer Play Option for Kids: The Indian toy manufacturing industry has always been coming up with something that is not only fun but also a learning technique for your kids. Many companies create products that are innovative, enjoyable, and keep your little ones busy indoors. When we specifically speak about playing dough as a product for children, parents are more selective in choosing the best for their little ones. There are many companies that go through a lot of techniques and ideas in building a colorful playing dough that is not only safe but also eco-friendly, thus getting the end product that is safe for kids. 

Among the initiatives being undertaken, the Prime Minister’s clarion call for ‘vocal about local’ appears to be the focal point of the industry’s revival approach. The push for manufacture will help leverage India’s industrial strengths in technical know-how, precision tooling, ready-made structure manufacturing, inexpensive labor valuations, and a huge pool of semiskilled/skilled workers and artisans. This will certainly transform the toy manufacturing industry in India into a perfect focus area for revivifying the economy.

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