Chris Evans

5th August 2021

Global Industry Analysis

The nightmare before Christmas for the global toy market?

Your options for the Toy Retailers Industry:

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During the summer months, mention of Christmas and the holiday season may be the furthest thing from consumer thinking, but for the world’s leading toy companies, it becomes their sole focus. In 2021, planning for the all-important final quarter is being hamstrung by a unique set of circumstances that could lead to shortages and sharp price hikes of famous brands from Barbie to Play-Doh.

Mattel is one of the first leading toy companies to warn that Christmas 2021 will be a season of consumer price inflation as material and distribution input costs start to bite as the global economy recovers from the pandemic. The issue in material pricing and the squeeze on shipping is affecting the whole market, with Hasbro also increasing consumer prices in each of the last two quarters.

Analysts are warning that the shipping container shortage is getting worse and approaching something of a crisis and prices are rocketing. The price of a 40-foot container routed from manufacturing centres in Asia to Northern Europe has risen from $2000 to $9000 in less than a year. Rising ethane and other raw material prices look likely to exert even more pricing pressure on the toy market.

While toys may not necessarily feed into inflation calculations used by central banks, any increase in toy prices will feed into inflation expectations among consumers and ultimately wage demands. How much pricing power do toymakers have to offset the perfect storm of higher costs they face over this, the most important trading period?

Plimsoll, the leading analyst of company performance and financial trends, reveals the percentage of companies across key niches of the toy market and how performance compares in these uniquely challenging times:


% of companies rated Danger

Sales per employee

Salary % of sales

Baby & toddler toys




Boys’ toys & games




Electronic toys & games




Girls’ toys & games




Tabletop toys & games




Toy & Game retailers




Toy & Game manufacturers





As the table above shows, salaries are already absorbing a high percentage of revenue across the global toy market with baby and toddlers' toys particularly inefficient with 19- cents of every dollar sold, lost to paying staff. With lending rates so cheap, will toy companies be attracted to the productivity gains that investing in increased automated processes would bring, especially allowing increased manufacturing in home markets?

As inflationary costs continue to build throughout the manufacture, distribution, and retail of toys, how much can companies pass onto consumers and how much additional cost will they have to absorb themselves?

The latest analysis from Plimsoll shows the global toy market has a high percentage of companies rated as Danger across all specialities. Plimsoll rates companies based on their financial stability and vulnerability to shocks. A rating of Danger does not necessarily indicate unavoidable failure, but it does measure a company’s ability to withstand disruptions and prolonged adversity.

More information about the latest Plimsoll Analysis on the global toys and games market is available by clicking here.

Whatever your market, Plimsoll can provide the analysis you need to ensure your business is financially prepared for shocks, getting the most from its investments and balancing commercial success with longevity. Knowing how your company is really performing, how you compare to others in your key markets and who is exposed, will be key knowledge heading into 2022.

To find out more about Plimsoll and our analytical platform, why not book a demo with one of our team today? Visit or call +44(0)1642 626400 to find out more.

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