China is known for being the world’s largest toy manufacturer, accounting for more than half of global toy exports. But what is interesting to know is that China is also the largest toy market in the world, valued at 56.28 billion dollars in 2022.
As the incomes of Chinese people are rising and due to the fact that now it’s possible to have two or even three kids in China, the toy market is growing. In fact, toys were one of the most sought-after products during this year’s Singles Day on Tmall and JD. In this blog post, we will take a look at the trends shaping the market in 2022 and check the opportunities for foreign brands in the toys market in China.
Toys Market in China
China’s toys market is expected to reach $78.21 billion in 2027, with an annual growth of 6.80% between 2022 and 2027. China is far ahead of the game, being one of the leading toy markets in the world, with India coming second, accounting for $38.62 billion (as we mentioned, in 2022 China accounts for $56.28 billion).
The demand for toys is growing, and the toy market nearly doubled in the past decade, despite the decline in newborns. How is it possible? The answer is very simple, the toy industry is also fueled by adults buying toys for themselves.
It’s not only traditional and decorative toys but also pop toys, which are usually designed for collecting purposes, to comply with some popular games, movies, anime etc. According to Statista, China’s pop toy market is led by assembled toys like LEGO.
Chinese Millennials want to spoil their kids with the best toys
The biggest consumer group on China toys market is Millennials, which is not very surprising, as they are the ones that have little kids now. Millennials are China’s only-child generation, and although many people think, that those people can’t make good parents, due to the fact they are big kids themselves, research shows differently.
According to research by The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 30% of those parents spend more than 3 hours per day playing with their children, in comparison to 24% of 80s parents and 12% of 70s parents. They believe that playing with kids is a form of education and they are willing to spend a lot on innovative, educational toys that can boost the learning abilities of their kids.
What are the trends in the toy market in China?
As you can see in the graph above, toys for toddlers, construction sets & models, dolls and stuffed toys, and plastic toys are the most popular types. But what are the trends shaping the market in 2022? Let’s take a look.
Demand for home entertainment due to zero-covid policy
As people are still forced to stay at home in many Chinese cities, the need for home entertainment is rising. Adults sign up for fitness memberships in apps, watch live streams and play video games, but the kids also need some fun at home, and this is when the toy companies come. Parents found themselves in need to entertain kids at home by themselves, so the demand for toys, especially educational toys and intelligent toys is rising.
Intelligent and innovative electronic toys
Just like in the adult world, high-tech electronic appliances are becoming extremely popular, and intelligent toys are not an exception here. Nowadays kids in China want to have those very popular, high-end electronic toys and remote-controlled toys, that can listen to commands. Those are robots that can do several different things, according to their purpose.
One of the most trendy toys in recent years was robots Bo and Yana, which are simple-looking little robots, that can be programmed from the tablet, in order to do simple combinations of movements and sounds. They became popular also due to the fact they can be used in English, which helps kids learn in a fun way.
What is important to understand is that those types of toys need to be available also in specialty toy chain stores and other offline venues. Although online sales account for half of the purchases and many manufacturers open exclusive online stores for smart toys or high-end plush toys, this toy category is pretty unique, and many parents and children want to see and touch the toy before the purchase.
Traditional plush toys are still on the rise
Thanks to the relaxation of the one-child policy in China and the rising disposable incomes of middle-class Chinese, parents want to spoil their kids. Although educational and intelligent toys are the most trendy right now, up-market plush toys and decorative cloth toys are still popular, as there are many newborns in China in recent years.
We already mentioned them while talking about innovative toys, as many domestic and international toy manufacturers nowadays produce toys that are a mix of these two features. Educational toys are preferred by modern parents, and in China is especially true, as it’s a very competitive environment and parents want their kids to start learning from the very beginning.
The increasing domestic demand for educational toys has led to robust sales of STEM items, including toys incorporating AI and virtual reality, that are believed to boost children’s learning. Parents in Mainland China are willing to pay a lot for those toys, but they need to be sure that those toy purchases will, later on, be beneficial for their kids.
Toys are not only for children
According to the director of Toys Fair marketing, when you open a target for toys, you must not only think about children or teenagers, in fact, there is a whole range interested in the games sector or the Kidult. In this category are part of all those games which are mainly made for children, but which are also used by adults. Products that take you to childhood, from Lego buildings to toy brands that sell pop toys, to board games and puzzles.
Trending toys and IP-licensed products
So-called chaowan, “fashionable toys”, are the toys that come like a heat wave, arousing a lot of attention. As those toys are meant for kids, they gain fast popularity, because kids want what other kids have. But those toys are often linked to the latest ‘mania’ of the market, and really often they also become desired by adults, that want to collect them.
One of those fashionable toys is Molly’s, which are little dolls available to buy in Pop-Mart stores. They created a big buzz in the toy market in China and the trend is still going on. One of the reasons for their popularity is the fact they are sold in “blind boxes”, so buyers don’t know what type of doll they will find inside.
Chinese people are especially fond of all blind box purchases, and those boxes can be found everywhere, from the food industry, through toys, to pets even (although this is a rather saddened trend).
How to use these trends for your marketing strategy?
Whether you want to sell toys that move, dance and are inside a magic hat or you sell wigs for disguises, before entering the Chinese market, you should know the marketing strategies to be taken, as it is all another world. In order to develop awareness among consumers and at the same time mark your products, it is essential to follow these steps.
Branding is the key to success in China
Any toy business wanting to enter China’s toys market needs to be aware that Chinese people don’t buy products that they never heard of. Branding is especially important when it comes to toys, as kids are the decisive force here. And what do kids usually want? The most trendy toys are the toys that they see in videos, and commercials, and those that every kid in kindergarten or at school has.
What is more, to be able to sell products on China’s e-commerce platforms, you need to have an established presence in China, otherwise, those platforms won’t let you sell there. Therefore, you need to take care of your brand’s visibility, preferably through a Chinese website, good Baidu SEO, social media platforms, and influencers.
One of the first places that Chinese parents check when looking for information is Baidu. Therefore, it’s advisable to have a Chinese website hosted in China, so that it will show in Baidu’s search results. Why do we say that you need a Chinese website? Although Chinese people’s English level is improving, most of them still don’t speak the language.
A Chinese website has a bigger chance of attracting an audience, and also a bigger chance of ranking high in search results, as Baidu favors websites in Mandarin hosted in Mainland China. If you want to attract the attention of parents and kids, it’s advisable to put interesting videos on your website, and also remember about customer service, so that any interested consumers will be able to ask you any questions they have in a chat box.
Baidu, SEO, and SEM
Baidu is not only a search engine but a whole ecosystem of websites and platforms, just like Google. This means, that there are many other ways to help your website rank high in search results and get a good reputation for your brand.
One of the ways to get to know Chinese consumers’ shopping habits and opinions of various toys and foreign companies is through online forums like Baidu Tieba, Zhihu, or Baidu Zhidao. You can create topics about your brand or participate in discussions on toys market and toy companies in China so that you will spread your name in China.
There are also many parenting websites and forums, where you can also present your brand and learn about the needs of Chinese kids and parents when it comes to toys. And, of course, you can also invest in Baidu Paid Advertising to get more buzz to your website.
Chinese social media platforms
Although it’s advisable to have a Chinese website, so customers can trust your brand, social media platforms are crucial for your branding and e-reputation activities in China. We advise you to start an Official Account on WeChat, where you get access to 1.26 billion monthly active users, that will be able to learn about your products there. You can also create a WeChat Store linked to your account, where you can directly sell your toys, without the need of investing in other online sales channels at first.
WeChat is a very diverse platform, but it’s not good for lead generation and reaching out to new audiences, as it’s a bit closed ecosystem. We advise you to start accounts on Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin, so you can reach out to big parenting communities on these platforms, and promote your brand through different content formats.
An excellent marketing solution to depopulate in China is the use of KOLs, this type of marketing based on people with influence on potential customers through the sharing of content is widely used. Key opinion leaders in China are more than just influencers, in fact, Chinese users put all their trust in these web celebrities.
From Wechat to Douyin, each platform has its own influencers, and in turn, they are divided as not everyone is suitable to sponsor anything. One of the key points is knowing how to choose the right KOL for your brand that knows how to involve your community. It’s especially advisable to promote your toys through KOLs in China, as there are many parenting accounts with a huge follower base to reach out to.
E-commerce in China is the largest and most profitable market in the world, which continues to hold the record. This is why online sales are the most useful, simple, and profitable way to reach Chinese consumers, who buy more than 70% of online products.
But it should be one of your last steps of the journey, as you need to build your presence and reputation in China first, as Chinese people don’t buy from brands they don’t know there.
Tmall, Taobao, and JD.com are the most used platforms for online sales, each one has a category in which several products are, so it is essential to choose the most suitable, always taking into account the rules, the policy, and costs for foreign brands. It is also obvious that building the site of a brand in Mandarin and adapting it to Chinese tastes in terms of style and design is essential. In fact, it is one of the first places in which they will go to inquire.
Selling on those platforms is expensive, so it’s a solution for bigger brands. If you want to test the market first, you can start a WeChat Store or sell your toys on Xiaohongshu, to see if you will find an audience for your toys.
Do you need help selling toys in China? Contact us!
Toys are a very profitable market but it’s not that easy to come up with a successful marketing strategy without know-how and experience in the industry.
We are a China marketing agency with more than 10 years of experience in the market. We helped more than 600 brands from different industries. We offer individual approaches to each brand, according to its needs and budget.
Some of our services include:
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us to discuss your project. We offer a free discovery call with one of our specialists, to see the potential of your brand in China.
A very good conversation about Toys market in China, with lot of interaction on linkedin
This blog website is actually valuable to supply updated events over internet which is actually appraisable.
Hi, we are Ejet sourcing , the leading sourcing agent in china, we can help you find the products you want you can check our website here https://ejet.net/
We are a school chain in China, and we are interested to resell foreign toy brands in our school for extra income.
Toy needs to be good quality, and well known brand.