Toy industry will not phase out but co-exist with online gaming: Lokesh Kataria, Mattel

Kataria, Head of Marketing, Mattel India, says the brand has increased its online marketing budget from around 2 per cent to 30-38 per cent

e4m by Shweta Raaj Singh
Updated: Jul 25, 2019 8:36 AM
lokesh kataria

Mattel, known for its range such as Barbie, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels, is looking to expand footprint in India. The brand recently launched Hot Wheels Monster Truck in the country. exchange4media speaks to Lokesh Kataria, Head of Marketing, Mattel India, about the launch, their expansion plans, market scenario and more.

Hot Wheels already holds a leading spot in the model vehicle category. And the launch of Monster Truck is only expected to further strengthen their position. Talking about the market share that Mattel is targeting in India with Hot Wheels Monster Truck, Kataria said, “With Monster Truck, we are looking at growing the overall category as well as tapping the popular scales i.e. 1:24, 1:43. The overall objective is to consolidate our leadership position.” To tap the potential of the large vehicle category in the Indian market, the brand has rolled out a 360-degree campaign.

On the reach of the brand, Kataria mentions they aim for 10,000-plus stores. All stores would include online platforms and will be associated with key partners such as Hamleys and Toys R Us.

According to latest estimates by market research company euromonitor, the toy industry is pegged at Rs 500 million dollars. Though the sector fails to reserve a place among top 10 markets globally, in India, the industry is growing well as compared to the developed market.

When asked about the challenges posed to the toy market by online gaming brands such as Xbox, Kataria feels toys will always be close to kids and it is not an either or scenario for them. “Engaging with a toy has always been an imaginative storytelling process. Toys give wings to a child’s imaginative play and compliment his/her imagination, creativity and engagement. As far as the shift towards box gaming, sports and video games are concerned, the toy industry would not phase out but co-exist. 

According to Kataria, researches suggest despite an increase in screen time, the play time for kids with toys has been static. Toy remains an important part of a child’s journey, he feels.

Toy brands, meanwhile, have upped their game by getting innovative and integrating with players. They are generating content on YouTube and game apps to target kids there. But in order to stay tuned, Kataria said, the integration of the brand’s messages, communications and campaigns with the kind of content kids are consuming has to be seamless whether it is on YouTube, or game apps.

Talking about the revenues, Kataria said, though a major part of the revenue is still being generated by organised trade, the share of online revenue has gone up three times in 2019 as compared to 2016. “In 2016, the online purchase share in total revenue was about 7 per cent. But in three years, it has gone up to 22 per cent.”

Most of the online sales come from tier II and tier III cities. With the advent of the digital boom, Mattel India, which earlier set aside around 2 per cent of their total marketing budget for online, now pumps around 30-38 per cent on the medium.

When asked about festive season sales, Kataria points out that they see festive season as an opportunity. “Sale of toys goes up during Christmas, and summer & winter holidays, but not Diwali. Consumers prefer to spend more on clothes, décor and sweets on Diwali.”

According to Kataria the Rs 500 million dollar toy industry sees intrusion from the unorganised sector that takes a share of about 66 per cent. But the weak quality of duplicate toys has been marginally successful in eroding the intrusion, he said.

“Till three years ago, the share of the unorganised sector was around 72 per cent. But it has come down to 66 per cent now. Hence, there has been a rise in brand consciousness. Millennial parents are shunning the duplicate products,” added Kataria. 

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