The Ever-Changing Toy Industry: Emerging Global Markets

The Toy Industry is about to go global, eventually and inevitably.         

The emerging middle classes of India, China, and elsewhere around the world are going to change the toy business and every business. China alone has over 800 million kids under the age of 15. That's a lot of toys. We know little about the business practices and patterns of daily life in these markets.           

Middle class
Getting in sooner rather than later might be important for success in the long term. On my first visit to South America long ago I was stunned at the size of the cities, and it dawned on me that there are as many or more people living in South America as in North America. 

My alma mater, IIT’s Institute of Design, is one of the thought leaders on product design strategy for emerging markets and is sponsoring an upcoming Design Strategy Conference on that very subject. Major international companies like Amway, P&G, and others are already forging into these Chinese and South American markets, as well as those in Africa and wherever they see opportunity emerging. We can learn much from these emerging market pioneers.          

Of course, the largest of the toy companies are doing this to some extent, but the opportunities for the future are enormous for the smaller companies and for the toy industry, as well.         

Saying it is one thing, doing it is quite another. Getting started is the key. 

2 thoughts

  1. The toy industry is one of the most graceful ones! There are some risks that this branch of business implies, though. One of them can be the risk of swallowing small parts or of suffocating with the film the toy is wrapped in.
    Always make sure that you use a very clear and good labelling, providing all the Korean translation of the warnings and of all the indications.

  2. Valley Games, the Canadian publisher of my family boardgame, “Two by Two” ( ) was savvy enough to include rulebooks in 8 different languages in the box, including simplified and traditional Chinese. A Korean fan of the game even contacted me for some clarifications so he could put out a very professional-looking Korean translation as well – .
    When negotiating contracts for my games, I also try to hold onto any international and language rights that the publisher isn’t going to make explicit use of, freeing me up to re-license the game in those markets. I have a number of upcoming titles that have only been licensed in English and/or for the North American market, for example, so if anyone’s interested, feel free to get in touch.

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