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Accessing the ASEAN Consumer Market: Toys and Games

Despite the rise of e-commerce, bricks-and-mortar stores are still the preferred channel for some categories of toys

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Across many ASEAN nations in recent years, the toys and game industry has continued to be affected by the increasing popularity of online shopping.

This migration affects some toy categories more than others. E-commerce already dominates the baby and pre-school toys market as parents are the key decision makers in the purchase of these sorts of toys and are inclined to search for these products online to find the best deals.

Despite the rise of e-commerce, bricks-and-mortar stores are still the preferred channel for some categories of toys, especially dolls, superhero action figures, board games, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) toys.

Purchases of these sorts of toys and games are highly driven by children’s choice, and parents like to try them out with their kids before buying them. This kind of shopping activity can enhance the bond between parent and child.

Going shopping together for toys is a favourite activity for many families, especially during holiday seasons. Hong Kong toymakers and suppliers eyeing the ASEAN market need to keep aware of developments in both online and offline channels in order not to miss opportunities.

Toys and Games Specialist Stores

Toys and games specialist stores are a one-stop shop for toys, games, parties and gifts. They remain a preferred option for many ASEAN families shopping for traditional toys for children over three years old – toys such as dolls, action figures, board games and STEM toys.

However, older children and teens in ASEAN are becoming increasingly reliant on their smartphones and social media at an early age. As a result, e-commerce is expected to continue to gain market share as a distribution channel for toys and games.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for offline channels to match the convenience, numerous good deals and vast product ranges offered by online shopping. In response to the growing demand for online shopping, many toys and games specialist stores have created their own online shops to offer convenience and a seamless transition across online and offline channels.

Notable Examples of Toys and Games Specialist Stores

Indonesia

Toys Kingdom – One of the biggest toy chains in Indonesia, with more than 30 stores across the country. Its flagship store in Grand Indonesia offers a complete product range, and comes with impressive in-store decorations and professional sales staff which help to enhance the experience of shopping there.

Kidz Station – Another well-known toy speciality chain with more than 70 stores in the country, housing popular toy brands, such as Hasbro, Disney, Mattel and LEGO. It also sells collections of licensed products including clothing, footwear and stationery.

Multi Toys & Games – Established for nearly 10 years, it focuses on figurines and movie memorabilia. It is an authorised distributor of well-known brands like Bandai, Goodsmile and Kotobukiya. It has retail outlets in several key cities, but also sells through its online store and several online marketplaces.

Toys City – A one-stop shop for kids that sells toys, costumes and stationery through its network of more than 10 stores.

Malaysia

Toys”R”Us – While Toys”R”Us is closing or selling its US and UK stores, its operation in Asia is business as usual, spanning a network of over 400 brick-and-mortar stores across key Asian countries, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. The chain has about 40 stores in Malaysia, mainly concentrated in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Sheldonet Toy Store – Specialises in pop culture toys, figurines, and collectibles from global brands such as FUNKO and Bleacher Creatures.

Toy Garden and Toywiz – Focuses on limited editions of toys and collectibles, especially Toy Biz and Marvel figures. Established in 2004, the store has three outlets throughout Klang Valley. It offers a wide variety of brands, including Hot Toys, Enterbay, Star Wars, Marvel, Transformers, LEGO and Hot Wheels.

Thailand

Early Learning Centre (ELC) – Became part of the Mothercare company in 2007. ELC provides educational toys for children up to the age of eight. Its products are sold through franchise and wholesale operations across many Asian markets, including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Toys”R”Us – One of the leading toys chains in Thailand with 10 stores across the country, most of them in Bangkok.

Unique positioning of Toys and Games Specialist Stores

In key cities in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, online shopping is gaining an ever-increasing share of the toys market. As a result, providing a fantastic in-store experience is critical for toys and games speciality shops. They encourage customers to explore more in the stores by providing demonstrations, hands-on access to the games and toys, and recommendations and assistance from the in-store staff. They look to develop a unique positioning and advertise the aspects that set them apart from other distribution channels.

While most toy shops in ASEAN offer a full range of toys and games, some focus on just one type or category, such as educational toys or figurines. These shops aim to become the primary destination for specific groups of customers shopping for that particular category of toy.

If Hong Kong toymakers can identify toy shops or chains which specialise in selling their products and which match their market positioning, they will have a very good chance of winning orders from those retailers.

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