2020 was also a crazy year for the toy industry

“Omnichannel,” the seamless mix of bricks and mortar with online shopping, has been a buzzword this year, Zahn said.

Big box retailers “use their stores as distribution centers,” Zahn noted. A grandmother from Topeka, Kan., Can now order a doll that Sally’s dad can pick up at a Walmart or Target in Tallahassee, Florida.

Without the resources of the big players, ASTRA’s 740 independent retailers or local member chains had to improvise, Warfield said.

“They’ve made the game better with their websites and online sales,” Warfield said. “Many now offer local online delivery and curbside pickup. “

But some retailers will shut down for good, Gottlieb predicted.

“Unfortunately, a lot of toy stores are old school. Some don’t even have an online presence,” Gottlieb said.

Manufacturers like Froggy’s Lair are helping retailers with personalized videos and targeted pay-per-click campaigns.

“We come up with some really creative ways to support our sales reps and retailers with prepackaged social media content,” Walters said.

At Fat Brain Toys, sales on the company’s website have nearly doubled this year, Carson said. Meanwhile, sales to small stores have stagnated.

Including all channels, the 60-person company has annual revenue exceeding $ 50 million, Carson said. The 18-year-old company specializes in low-tech preschool and STEM offerings and multigenerational games.

Far Out’s Meggs sees gold in these hills.

“There is a great opportunity in all of this. At some point people get tired of the old one and I think there is going to be a strong urge for the new,” he said. “We are producing even more great concepts and ideas for the products.”

Founded in 2017 by a team of industry veterans, the vertically integrated company develops and manufactures its own intellectual property and products featuring brands such as NASCAR and 8-year-old YouTube superstar Ryan Kaji. Far Out also designs and manufactures private label toys for large retailers like Walmart, Meggs said.

The company has 600 injection molding machines at its factories in Dongguan, China, and Hanoi, Vietnam.

Far Out had to find its way into a post-Toys R Us world. The now bankrupt giant has provided an unusually accepted landing point for new products and businesses, Meggs said.

“We had to respond to the majors from the start,” he said.

In less than a week in March, Crazy Aaron’s Enterprises, 22, turned to making this season’s staple: hand sanitizer.

“We have to keep people busy, get things done,” said Muderick, who proudly points to his more than 80 employees, including workers with special needs.

Three months later, when Pennsylvania lifted its lockdown, the company reverted to manufacturing silicone rubber sealants. Lesson learned about the value of diversification, however: the company recently launched a line of colorful foaming soap products, which come in a plastic bottle, that encourages children to scrub.

“We have good initial orders” for Clean With Color by Crazy Aaron, reports Muderick.

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