Wednesday, December 9, 2015
"Toys to Life" Brand Franchises Beckon in Toy Stores
The brand franchise method of categorizing toys neatly sidesteps the hoopla over not categorizing toys by gender, to avoid stereotyping.
At left, a portion of the LEGO Dimensions aisle at a nearby Toys 'R' Us. Dimensions is one of the growing number of high-tech toys that combine a game base with WiFi- or Bluetooth-enabled character add-ons that bring "toys to life" and let users take game-playing to new levels.
Skylanders, launched in 2011, has been a huge success. To date, it has sold 250 million units that interact with its video components, and generated $3 billion in revenue for Activision. Skylanders has its own aisle in Toys 'R' Us to make holiday gift-giving simple for parents and grandparents.
Disney Infinity is also popular, with well-known characters from Star Wars, among other top movie franchises. Newly-launched Disney Infinity for Apple TV offers figures from many of Disney's movies, including Inside Out.
Of course, the "toys to life" trend isn't entirely taking over toy stores in 2015. Traditional brand franchises such as Barbie have their own aisles, as do old-fashioned board games (remember Monopoly?) and crafts (even the adult coloring fad).