It’s great to see how the toy market in the MENA Region is expanding. Whether in the market size, available retailers (brick stores and online stores), distributors, categories and brands.
Since the beginning of 2015 I have been taking a closer look at the construction toys category in the retail scene in Dubai, and I was really surprised to see how the offered range of brands expanded widely since then to include new offerings beside Lego, MegaBloks and Play Mobil who were dominating the shelf space in this category.
Nowadays if you visit most toy stores you can find great building sets from Laser Pegs, Meccano, Nanoblock, Bambao, Teifoc, K’nex and few more. Each brand has its own competitive strategy either in terms of cost leadership hence targeting price sensitive consumers or in terms of differentiation through offering unique selling points which will differentiate their brand from the market leader “Lego”. Laser Peg as an example offers unique experience to kids through their lighted construction sets. In addition to the light factor, Laser Pegs sets have very unique designs and add value to kids through enriching their playing experience with their educational and National Geographic sets. Nanoblock also differentiate its products through their teeny tiny micro sized building blocks.
Furthermore, in addition to brands expansion, LEGO has opened its first standalone certified store last November in Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi followed by 2 more stores this year which opened just few weeks back in Dubai’s most popular malls; Mall of The Emirates and City Center Mirdif, and very soon a forth store will open its doors to fans at The Dubai Mall.
I think such expansion in terms of brands and standalone retail stores will encourage more companies to come on board as this marks a significant growth opportunities for construction toys in the region. Moreover, in such a competitive market place brands will have no choice but to be extremely innovative in order to survive, gain both market share and retail space while retaining a loyal customer base.