Consumer attitudes are constantly changing, reflecting how people feel about prominent societal issues as well as showing how willing consumers are to spend money.
Since the beginning of mass consumerism, attitudes have changed many times as more evidence becomes clear as to just how damaging excess buying and single-use items can be for the environment – and companies then have to keep up, encouraging customers to return by modifying their policies on manufacturing and distribution.
When it comes to toys, for parents in the 20th century, it was seen as a loving thing to do to indiscriminately shower children with gifts, and owning lots of consumer products was a status symbol.
While this is still the case for some parents, it’s widely frowned upon and reflects the changes seen in recent decades. Read on to find out more about the factors affecting toy consumption in the 21st century and how technology has played an active role.
The main catalyst behind changes in attitudes towards buying toys is a concern for the environment. Looking at children’s toys, it’s not difficult to see why, too, as even in 2020, 90% of toys in production were made with plastic, which is extremely costly to the environment.
Further problems with plastic toys are that they are not built to last – apart from the fact that children often become bored with toys and want new ones in a short space of time, toys that were built with low manufacturing costs in mind are easily broken and discarded without much second thought.
An international study conducted in 2019 found that, as a global average, 69% of consumers have changed their consumer habits with concerns for climate change as a reason.
The internet has revolutionized the way that consumers buy toys, providing an unprecedented selection to consumers at their fingertips while also allowing them to do their own research into the products that they buy.
Before the advent of the internet, department store catalogs were a staple way of browsing products and finding out what is available – with the internet, parents and children alike receive targeted marketing via browser cookies so that products they may enjoy are presented to them firsthand.
Furthermore, simply using google to target keywords, such as unicorn products for sale, will return thousands upon thousands of potential options for consumers. Such accessibility and choice mean that consumers buying toys can consider why they are buying from a particular manufacturer without buying a worse product elsewhere.
In recent decades, technology has made an unstoppable rise in the toy and entertainment industry, with video games commanding huge influence and becoming the staple form of entertainment for many.
Games consoles have been in production since the late 1980s, but particularly post-2010 have, high-quality gaming experiences become affordable and accessible.
As well as this, the ever-presence of media such as tv shows and movies means that licensed products have become even more important, as children want physical products from their favorite online and tv franchises.