Holiday shopping: Toys will be ‘shining star’ of season, experts say news
It's the most resilient holiday spending category: Toys.
But even toy stores are expected to feel the fallout from inflation during the biggest shopping season of the
"Holiday spending is going to be muted," retail analyst Bruce Winder said. "But toys are the last thing you cut back on if you have kids. You want something under the
tree for them -- you just might do it in a more economical way."
While Canadians are expected to rein in their shopping lists this gift-giving season amid rising prices, high
interest rates and a grim economic outlook, they still appear willing to open their wallets for toys, experts say.
"Toys have been kind of that shining star in Canada," said
Tamara Szames, Canadian retail industry adviser with The NPD Group. "It's continuing to outperform the rest of the retail industry."
While toy sales may be resilient,
spending on children's games, books and dolls is still down, she said.
"If we look at the first six weeks of the fourth quarter, toy sales are down 17 per cent compared with
last year," Szames said. "That's a pretty strong pullback."
Still, sales are being compared against "astronomical growth" recorded last year, she said, noting that consumers
also shopped earlier in 2021 amid fears of inventory shortages.
"If we compare toy sales in 2022 with 2019, there's still 22 per cent growth," she said. "Spending on children
during the holidays will remain a priority."
Consumers are increasingly on the hunt for sales and deals, with some expected to wait until later in the season to buy gifts.
"This year customers are back to waiting for Black Friday sales," Mastermind Toys CEO Sarah Jordan said. Officially Nov. 25, many retailers have already started rolling out
Black Friday deals, and sales are expected to ramp up this week.
"This is a return to a more normal pre-pandemic holiday shopping pattern," she said. "When we go back in
history, Black Friday was the kickoff."
So far shoppers appear to be more price-sensitive than in previous years, Jordan says.
"People are shopping on a budget," she
said. "Customers are twice as likely to shop for gifts under $25 than under $50 on our website."
But when it comes to the season's hottest toys and "must have" big ticket
items, shoppers aren't waiting, Jordan said.
Popular toys like the interactive Magic Mixies Crystal Ball are being scooped up online in what she calls a more "transactional
Many shoppers though are gravitating back to in-store shopping, with "tried and true" classic toys making a comeback, Jordan said.
"One of our fastest