Here are 2021’s top stories. I did not list them by their level of importance. All were important in their own way.
1.The Great Supply Chain Convulsion
I don’t need to say much about this one as we are have lived it and are living it. The Supply Chain has been having a giant muscle spasm; there is no clear end in sight as of this writing.
A big part of the supply chain convulsion has been the lack of and the subsequent meteoric rise in container rates. Prices have dropped below $10,000, but some have concerns that prices will head back up after the first of the year. Heavy demand and the Chinese New Year factory shutdown in February could see to that.
The good news is salaries are up. The bad news is so are prices. Costs rose at the most accelerated rate since 1990. The cost of food, consumer products, and durable goods make life more expensive for everyone.
4. Human Beings Are Out-of-Stock
Toy companies, like the rest of the consumer products world, have had a challenging time finding workers. It seems that fewer people want to work for other people. For example, currently the most challenging position to fill is Assistant Manager. Where is everyone going? Boomers are retiring, Millennials are going entrepreneur, and people of all generations want to work gigs that fit their personal life clock.
5. Amazon and Lego Exclusive Streaming Video and Sales Agreement
Largely unnoticed was the history-making agreement between Amazon and Lego. Amazon gets to stream Lego’s new “Monkie Kid” animated series and sell tie-in products. Walmart and Netflix followed with their own groundbreaking deal. Walmart provides Netflix with a dedicated webpage to Netflix tie-in products. A first for Walmart.
6. Toys R Us Rises from the Dead…Again
If Toys R Us rises from the dead one more time, we will have to create a holiday. Toys R Us got new ownership this year. The WHP is selling Toys R Us products through the Macy’s portal and will set up shop in Macy’s stores next year. They are also opening a Toys R Us experiential store in the American Dream Mall…complete with a two-story sliding board.
7. All Trade Shows Cancelled
The “Toy Highway,” as I like to call it, was closed in 2021. There were no in-person shows taking place in Hong Kong, New York, or Nuremberg. Things are looking tentative for 2022 as some are wary of the new coronavirus strain, “Omicron.”
8. Dollar Tree Raises Prices to $1.25
Everything is no longer a dollar at Dollar Tree. In fact, everything is now $1.25. Inflation saw to that.
9. McDonald’s Moves to EcoPlastic Toys in their Happy Meals
Green is no longer just the color of money. It is becoming the color of toys – how they are made, from what they are made, and how they travel to market.
10. Brian Golder, Hasbro CEO, Passes Away
I finish with the saddest story of the year, the passing of Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s visionary leader.