14 February 2006

Toy makers are betting on toddler tech [Market Watch]

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From industry giants Mattel and Hasbro to smaller players LeapFrog and VTech, toy manufacturers are lowering the age ranges for their high-tech and educational offerings at this year’s Toy Fair, betting that “toddler tech” will help reverse several years of slumping sales.

The toy industry has responded [to its market challenges] by embracing technology, adding interactivity, creating whole new categories of educational toys and expanding the use of sophisticated electronics in products for kids as young as newborns.

Part of the strategy is to make kids enamored of their toys and brands at an earlier age; part of it is a response to parents who want play time to also build cognitive and other skills. But another key element is to create must-have items for which parents are willing to pay a premium.

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