Kids Toy industry puts on muscle

Toy industry puts on muscle

Author | Source: Business Line | Wednesday, Apr 05,2006 12:49 PM

Toy industry puts on muscle

Finally, the toy industry in the country is growing! From stagnating at 5 per cent two years ago, it has been growing by about 15 per cent annually, Mr David Daniel Selvaraj, marketing manager, Funskool India Ltd, told Business Line.

The growth is driven by two factors: retail expansion and the import of a wide variety of toys by companies as well as lifestyle stores. Some department store chains , such as Lifestyle, have even launched their own branded range of toys.

Imports are growing in quantity as well as quality. "Five years ago, most of the imports were junk. But now their quality is going up" and well-heeled parents are willing to pay, especially if they are branded, says Mr Selvaraj. Funskool has quite a few tie-ups to import merchandise based on popular cartoon/animation series on television channels.

The range of such products include Beyblades, Disney Princesses and Noddy. It also helps that these toys are cheaper here than abroad, he added.

The acceptance of costlier imports has spurred Funskool to launch pricier toys. Pointing to a toddler's scooter set in his office, Mr Selvaraj says it costs Rs 2,399, adding that about five years ago, the company rarely priced/stocked a toy/game that cost more than Rs 500.

Most of the imported varieties are those based on TV series, a host of battery-operated toys and cars, he said.

However, prices of toys made locally by Funskool, and of the staple ones, haven't gone up in the last three years.

Beyblades is the largest selling toy ever, Mr Selvaraj said. "We sold double of what we sold of Pokemon," he explained, adding that he expects the craze to last another year.

Manufactured by Japanese toy major Takara and imported by Funskool, Beyblades were introduced in the Indian market in June 2005, soon after Cartoon Network started airing the series.

Beyblade Championships are a regular annual feature overseas and were hosted for the first time in India by Funskool last year in 15 cities. Season 3 of the Beyblade series called G Revolution will be aired on Cartoon Network in the next few months.

With prospects looking up for the toy industry, Funskool is eyeing a turnover of Rs 50 crore in 2006-07. While there is no single estimate of the toy market's size, Funskool estimates it at Rs 450 crore-Rs 500 crore, the unorganised segment accounting for 60 per cent share.

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