Growing access to the internet and the proliferation of affordable advanced communication technologies over the past decade has created a generation of digital natives for whom the divide between virtual and real-life play is minimal. This has led to major changes in demand for toys and games, forcing manufacturers to incorporate smart features into their product lines. This briefing focuses on strategies that have worked so far and considers how technology will permeate playtime in the future.
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Smartphones, laptops and tablets are commonplace in developed markets, and falling device prices are making them ever more popular in emerging markets as well.
Communication technology is becoming increasingly integral to the daily life of consumers in developed markets. This has changed consumer behaviour dramatically, including playtime. For a generation of digital natives, the line between the physical and virtual worlds is growing ever thinner.
With growing penetration of computers and smartphones, interest in video games has been growing, but free-to-play games have captured much of this growth, limiting growth in revenues from video game sales, thus developers are relying instead on in-game purchases.
One of the biggest consequences of the increasing influence of technology has been growing access to, and consumption of digital media. Consumers want toys based on the most popular entertainment franchises, making licensed content ever more important.
Toys-to-life products have resonated with children, for whom the lines between virtual and physical play have been blurred. Over the forecast period toys-to-life product lines are expected to continue growing dynamically.
There is expected to be an increasing number of toys that incorporate some interactivity with the virtual world, and the proliferation of technology in emerging markets means that connected toys will be popular globally instead of just in developed markets.