Technology has been a key component of the toy market for a number of years but a tipping point has been reached; with kids now expect techy toys.
Although as kids we were happy with static action figures, a good stick and our imaginations, things have moved on, and just as we now covet smartwatches and robot servants, so do youngsters.
According to iconic London toy seller Hamleys, things have progressed so much and so fast, that kids as young as three now expect technological elements within their favourite playthings.
"There is so much expectation from kids for toys to be techy," a buyer from Hamleys said speaking with TrustedReviews recently.
They added: "Pre-schoolers now expect some level of interaction, even under three year olds are now expecting technology to be included within their toys.”
In recent years toy makers have crowbarred tech into toys, with separate apps and spinoff online games resulting in a largely disjointed play experience.
Now, however, Hamleys has suggested that is all changing as the giants of the toy world reap the rewards of 12 months of tech-based R&D.
"This year it is all about how the toy and app can work together,” they told us. “Play value and technology are now finally going hand-in-hand."
Even those toys without integrated tech components still have connections to emerging technologies. Showcased during the retailer’s Christmas preview event were Makies, a range of 3D printed dolls which can be digitally customised when ordered before being printed and shipped out to consumers.
For you traditionalists out there, fret not. Although technology is beginning to dominate, traditional toys are not dead quite yet, in fact it appears nostalgia is keeping them alive.
“As much as technology is a must, there is still a demand for traditional toys,” Hamleys told us before suggesting parents and grandparents are keen to unsure children share some of the same experiences they themselves had as kids.
They added: “It’s not one instead of the other, yet.”
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