Parents’ uneasiness about Chinese lead recalls may have affected week before Christmas sales --- But many US consumers still unaware about where toys are made.
Stamford CT and Madison WI – December 24, 2007 --- During the busy week before Christmas, market research firm Anderson Analytics (www.andersonanalytics.com) polled a hundred parents on behalf of Toy Tips and Parenting Hints Magazine (ToyTips.com) in order to better understand the impact of recent toy recalls on what many believe to be the busiest week for retailers this season.
While most parents recalled their favorite toy from childhood as being either a “Doll/Barbie” (45% of mothers), a “car” or even, interestingly, a “Transformer” (36% and 14%, respectively, of fathers), the week before Christmas, the most popular intended gifts for children were “Video games” (21%), and “Learning Books” (17%).
When asked which if any concerns parents had in selecting a toy for their child the majority indicated having no specific concerns (41%). Among those who had concerns “Age Appropriateness” (17%) followed by “safety” and specifically, “lead” (12%) were top of mind.
However, about half of parents said they rarely or never check where their toy is made. The other half said they either usually (32%) or always (13%) check. Interestingly, 61% were not able to recall where the last toy they purchased was manufactured. Among those that said they knew, the majority said it was manufactured in China. About a quarter said the USA, but many seem to associate the toy with a specific retailer rather than country of origin.
“We’re seeing two different things here,” said Tom H. C. Anderson, managing partner of Anderson Analytics, “On the one hand parents seem to realize that most toys today are made in China, secondly, once again we see the difficulty of many Americans to think geographically, a number of parents even seemed to think about toys in terms of which retail outlet they purchased the product from rather than about country of manufacture, some parents were saying ‘Toys R US, USA’, ‘Target USA’ or ‘Wal-Mart (USA)’. Based on other studies we have done I wasn’t so surprised."
When asked specifically whether in regard to the recent news they would be more or less likely to purchase a toy based on country of manufacture, a quarter said they were just as likely to purchase a toy made in China as before. Half said they would be less likely to purchase a Chinese made toy in the future and only one fifth said they would not at all be likely to purchase a Chinese made toy.
A quarter of parents had been recently affected by recalls and had returned a purchased toy. When asked specifically about which toys/brands had been affected by the recalls, Mattel was the most frequently mentioned brand (31%), followed by Fisher Price (21%), and Hasbro (14%). Specific toys were also mentioned, such as: “Thomas the Train”, “Polly Pocket”, and “Aqua Dots” all mentioned by 14% of parents.
As a result of the recent news the majority of parents are either very interested (47%) or “somewhat interested” (22%) in staying informed to learn more about new recall information. Over half (57%) said they planned to choose other products as gifts for their children this season. One such alternate product which could benefit may be video games. Thirty six percent of parents agreed that they were now either “much more likely” (6%) or “somewhat more likely” (29%) to purchase video games for their children as a result of the Chinese recalls.
One thousand Toy Tips readers were emailed an invitation to a twenty one question survey the week before Christmas 2007. Respondents were screened for the presence of children living at home. The survey contained several open-ended questions and the first 100 responses were text analyzed on December 22nd using AA-TextSM, Andersons’ natural language processing methodology. The survey provides overall statistics of +/- 9% at the 95% confidence level.
About Anderson Analytics, LLC (GenX2Z)
More than market research, Anderson Analytics is the first, next generation, marketing insights firm to combine new technologies, such as data and text mining with traditional market research. A specialty of Anderson Analytics is the GenX2Z demographic. Whether you call them the 'MTV', 'Boomerang', 'I', or 'New Silent' Generation, GenX2Z is shaping the market of today and tomorrow. Anderson Analytics’ GenX2Z focuses on studying this growing demographic. For more information, please visit http://www.andersonanalytics.com
About Toy Tips, Inc.
Toy Tips conducts independent on-going academic research and publishes results on toytips.com and in Toy Tips and Parenting Hints Magazine. Available on newsstands nationwide and on amazon.com, Toy Tips does not charge for product submissions nor accepts payment in return for reviews.
Tom H. C. Anderson
Anderson Analytics, LLC
Marianne M. Szymanski
Toy Tips, Inc.