We take the "Global" in "Global Toy News" seriously so we like to provide readers with a look at other toy economies. It is interesting to see how other cultures choose their toys. We not only learn about them but we learn about ourselves as well. That was why I got a kick out of toy industry survey sent to me by a Ukrainian research company, UMG International (Ukranian Marketing Group).
The Ukraine has a population of approximately 46 million people making it the 29th largest country in the world. That makes it bigger than Canada, Poland and the Netherlands. It is the 51st biggest country based on GDP which makes it economically about the same size as New Zealand with a population of 4.5 million. So, Ukraine has some pretty strong growth potential as does the rest of Eastern Europe.
The survey, entitled "Toys in Numbers," provided a breakout by the percentage of sales constituted by each category:
Interactive toys 47.6%
Plush toys 45.8%
Board games 16, 2%
Wooden toys 8, 5%
I was surprised that games sales were so low compared to other categories. I had always thought that board games were popular everywhere in Europe. The report cites the lack of sales in the game and
wooden toy category as possibly due to the “…recent launching of these toys on Ukrainian market.” There would therefore seem to be an opportunity there for board game and wooden toy companies.
There are also other opportunities. The report has a section entitled “What toys Ukraine market is missing?" [sic] Almost half of the people surveyed feel that there are not enough educational toys available. Other under indexed segments cited were toys for children under 3 and licensed toys.
My take away is that for those companies looking to grow their business, Eastern Europe is looking more and more interesting. We know Russia is turning into a major market for toys but while looking east, it will be smart to keep your eyes on the Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and other emerging markets in that part of the world.
Are you doing business with Ukrainian companies? If so, let us know your experience.