While persistently low birth rates are acting as a significant constraint on growth in traditional toys and games in Japan, there were some notable bright spots in 2018. The final year of the review period saw significant demand for blind collectables, or surprise toys, as they are commonly known in Japan.
YouTube has emerged as a key marketing channel for traditional toys and games in Japan. YouTubers are very popular amongst elementary school children and a popular YouTuber introducing a toy can make a significant impact.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), sometimes extended to STEAM with the inclusion of art and even STREAM, with the further addition of robotics, has yet to establish a high level of awareness amongst Japanese consumers. Many manufacturers and retailers continue to use STEM as a buzz word to tag on to educational toys as a marketing tool without focusing on the segment as an emerging category in its own right.
Takara Tomy significantly extended its lead in traditional toys and games in 2018, registering a strong increase in value share on the back of the boom in surprise toys. Following on from Hatchimals in 2017, the company had a considerable success with the launch of LOL Surprise! in the final year of the review period.
Sega Toys registered share growth for the third consecutive year in 2018, as it continued to tap into evolving demand trends. The company’s WHO are YOU? products, for example, took advantage of the strong demand for surprise toys generated by brands such as Takara Tomy’s Hatchimals and LOL Surprise!.
Gakken Sta:Ful, a subsidiary of the publishing company Gakken Holdings Co Ltd, is growing its presence in educational toys. Card de Pipitto Hajimete no Programming Car is one of the most prominent products in the emergent STEM toys segment in Japan.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Toys and Games market research database.