India is untapped toy has enormous potential for growth in the global toy industry. The Government of India has highlighted the promotion of toy exports and manufacturing in our country by developing various schemes. At the same time, it is essential for Indian toy manufacturers to come up with new revolutionary and technologically advanced methods to improve domestic toy production and exports.
Our country, although perhaps the smallest market in terms of size, however, it is growing at the fastest rate with the largest population of children. Nearly 35% of the Indian population is under the age bracket of 14 years. India therefore represents the highest margin of progression compared to any of the other key and mature markets. The global toy industry also recognizes India as a chosen market for its products.
Making toys for the current generation of children requires a very diverse approach compared to a decade ago, because the so-called Alpha generation (children born from 2010 to 2025) are much more aware than the previous one. So, alongside sustainability, taking a step towards local empowerment has become the need of the hour, especially in the post-pandemic world. Below are mentioned some innovations that can be made in the way toys are made:
Due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, overall demand for household toys has increased by 25% since children were locked inside their homes. To meet this need, the government has encouraged domestic toy manufacturing and exports through various initiatives. Besides general compliances which amount to more than 700, ranging from Companies Act, SEBI Act, FEMA Act to Income Tax and Foreign Trade Act for Factories and MSMEs , guidelines needed to be precisely developed to ensure that the toy industries were protected against unfair practices. and extreme operation as well as the products meet global quality requirements. The lack of proper regulation in the past had led to degradation of product quality and failed attempts to conform to universal standards. However, this is no longer the case as the government has not only tightened the important factors in effect but also introduced new compliances such as providing BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification with the aim of selling products on the market, to avoid past policy inaccuracies.
READ MORE: How the toy industry is changing in India
Digital and technological advancement leveraging the growth of Indian toy industry: The digital progression in toys leads to an increasing application of artificial intelligence, especially in STEM toys. India has limited skills in manufacturing battery-powered, electronic and technological toys, but there is room to develop them in the medium to long term. The labor-intensive sub-segments instituting around 50-60% of the toy market can grow instantly in India given a push for indigenization of these segments which could, therefore, give a huge boost to job creation.
Hybrid models on the rise: Consumer behavior patterns have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, with over 76% of end users turning to e-commerce. Taking note of this consumer buying sentiment, Indian toymakers are now hoping to make a comeback – by going online. Additionally, the hybrid business model is expected to expand online exports in the coming years. The brick and mortar model continues to lurk amid the blurring due to the outbreak, the answer to optimal retail for offline retailers is to adopt the click and mortar business approach and pave the way forward. Although there are some green shoots of recovery, the future clearly lies in adopting the hybrid business model.
Sustainability will continue to persist: Eliminating plastic from toys altogether is less likely, which is why most companies are coming up with innovative ways to promote sustainability. While adopting ethical practices may not solve the world’s plastic challenge, it will certainly allow new products to be created without worsening the problem of plastic waste.
Family games are in fashion: The work-from-home model imposed by the pandemic has prompted parents to pay more attention to the needs of their children, bringing back the lost trend of families bonding around toys and games. Last year, the industry saw a noticeable increase in family board game sales and this trend is expected to continue. There is also a growing demand for brain-boosting toys such as complex construction sets, fun board games and challenging puzzles.
Forms of water are a dominant factor in innovation driven by the toy industry: Toys that tend to renew themselves by coming into contact with water and revealing a hidden message, color or character are gaining popularity. Craft toys that use water to create patterns are also trending. Educational toys that tend to teach children about underwater life fit many trends, and as always, bath and outdoor water toys are prevalent.
Playing Dough, a safer play option for children: The Indian toy industry has always come up with something that is not only fun but also a learning technique for your kids. Many companies create products that are innovative, fun, and keep your little ones indoors. When we talk specifically about modeling clay as a product for children, parents are more selective in choosing the best one for their little ones. Many companies use many techniques and ideas to create colorful playdough that is not only safe but also environmentally friendly, resulting in a child-safe end product.
Among the initiatives undertaken, the Prime Minister’s call to “speak local” seems to be the central point of the approach to revitalizing the industry. The manufacturing push will help leverage India’s industrial strengths in technical know-how, precision tooling, fabrication of ready-made structures, manpower assessments inexpensive and a huge pool of semi-skilled/skilled workers and artisans. This will certainly turn the toy manufacturing industry in India into an ideal focus area to revive the economy.