Christmas is coming, it’s time for toys and games. That being said, the market is struggling, as France has 187,000 fewer children under the age of 12 in 2023 than in 2022. That’s just as many fewer toys. Hence a 4.5% drop since the beginning of the year. But the good news is that adults are enjoying playing more and more. After all, they’re just big kids. The card games market has grown by 12%, traditional stuffed and plush toys by 4% and adult puzzles by 11%. Covid has left its mark. Playing at home with chosen playmates is one of the ways of withdrawing into oneself and developing a life indoors, if not an inner life.
The other good news is the announcement by manufacturers of the return of the playground stars of the 90s. Furby, Hasbro’s interactive plush toy, born in ’98 and disappearing from the shelves in 2016, is coming back in a non-connected version, as are Monster High, the monster children’s dolls born in 2010 and disappearing in 2018, and Bandai’s famous Tamagotchi. Born in Japan in 1996, the latter, which has never really disappeared from the market, is about to reappear in an up-graded version in the form of a connected watch (4 times more expensive than the original toy) featuring wi-fi to connect to other Tamagotchis and associated with the promise of traveling through a “tamaverse”. Just think.
What all these toys have in common is that they were born 30 years ago. The fact they are back is far from anecdotal, since those who have played with them have, in the meantime, become parents. Thus, they can both recall memories associated with their early years and promote themselves to their children in the ever-pleasurable mode of “you see, before TikTok we knew how to have fun too”. Welcome to the age of intergenerational consumption, one of today’s most powerful engines of desire. The best remedy for the anxieties generated by the uncertainties of our world.
The successes of Starmania, K-Way and Stan Smiths, as well as the return of Super Mario on Nintendo Switch, defunct TV shows and even the Mousline mashed potato song in the ad are all proof of this. Sharing moments and brands, passing on consumer memories, that’s also what “making family” is all about.