Following the outbreak of COVID-19 the Japanese government adopted a range of measures in an attempt to control its spread, with this leading to consumers spending significantly more time at home. With many families forced to work and study at home, and unable to socialise with family and friends, this created significant demand for products which could help alleviate boredom and distract from the stress and anxiety created by COVID-19.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, a state of emergency was imposed in seven major Japanese prefectures from 6 April 2020, and all 47 prefectures from 16 April. People were encouraged to stay at home, avoid group events, avoid stockpiling, and to wash their hands, although there were no penalties or mandatory requirements.
Other than focusing on e-commerce and digital marketing, there was not seen to be a lot that players within toys and games could do to address the problems created by COVID-19. Lego regained the lead in traditional toys and games in 2020 as there was a resurgence of interest in construction toys due to home seclusion.
Store closures during the initial state of emergency in 2020 led to a temporary rise in sales through e-commerce. During this period key retail channels such as toys and games specialist retailers and electronics and appliances specialist retailers were either shut down or shortened their opening hours in urban areas.
The performance of toys and games will likely be closely aligned to Japan’s ability to successfully contain COVID-19. Once consumers are able freely socialise and resume their normal day-to-day activities there will likely be less demand for entertainment around the home, and at this point sales of toys and games will likely stabilise.
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