Toys & their Apps… Are kids ready?

501576_barbie The Wall Street Journal recently published an interesting article on how App technology is changing toys for children. In the article by Ann Zimmrman and John Kell they look at Hasbro and Mattel as examples of toy companies trying to make games for tablets and other Apps meant to enhance a child’s experience with their toy and the company brand.

In the article:
More than 90% of the so-called app toys that were trotted out last year sold poorly, estimates Jim Silver, editor in chief of, a consumer and trade website.

However toy makers are continuing the push towards more technology based applications. Mattel for example is releasing a Barbie vanity and iPad app that allows girls to try out hairstyles.

While overall toy sales including electronics have stayed steady, traditional toys like board games and dolls have lost almost 30% market share since 1998 (according to research firm Euromonitor International). So it makes business sense to develop new toys and entertainment with a digital element.

As toy makers  continue to adapt to a growing population focused on technology and using it at every turn, the real question is becoming: Is it good or safe for young children to be encouraged to use less face-to-face social interaction and physical play? The experts are still out on whether technology is helping or harming cognitive and social development, but consider this…

The amount of time children spend consuming entertainment media via myriad screens has increased by almost 1 ½ hours a day since 2005—to about 7 ½ hours a day, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report.

Do you think toy makers will be successful at developing apps and digital entertainment for kids?



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About promotionalguru

A marketing communications professional helping other marketing professionals, business leaders and marketing students gain a better understanding of trends in advertising and public relations as well as tips for being a successful marketer.

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