Toy prices decrease and indicate rise in the economy.

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Bikes for sale in Walmart toy department.

Bikes for sale in Walmart toy department.

Matthew Arvin, staff reporter

The average price of toys has decreased by 6.4 % from last year according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  A decrease toy managers think may be connected with the recent sluggish economy.

Dawn Hunholz, Vice President of Finance for New Bright, a remote control car company, said the economy is largely to blame for the price decrease.

“A lot of this has to do with the economy.  Consumers are all looking to get the best price possible, and the retailers want to have the lowest price to draw these consumers in to their stores,” said Hunholz.

St. Johns Walmart toy department

St. Johns Walmart toy department

Tristan Spierling, St. Johns resident and father of two children, said why he believes the prices of toys has decreased.

“It probably has to do with the increase in globalization and the importation of Chinese goods,” Spierling said.

New Bright’s sales however have increased compared to last year and are up about 57% from five years ago.

Hunholz said that companies need to adapt and change their products to fit in with the state of the economy.

“When times were hard, we offered smaller, less expensive products. And as times improve we are able to go back to the more expensive item, Hunholz said.  “Also we have tried to keep up with the current technology such as lithium ion batteries, making us more appealing than our competitors.”

New Bright has also worked with retailers and superstores such as Walmart to gain more shelf space as well as more promotion of their items.

Walmart, St. Johns largest superstore, has also been selling more toys this year, compared to the last five years. Walmart management says this is probably due to the fact that the price of toys has gone down.

Bonnie Giles, a resident of St. Johns said that more toys are being bought because people are doing more activities at home, and saving money.

“I think more people are staying at home so we are trying to buy things that make are entertainment at home a little bit more comfortable for families and friends,” Giles said.

Spierling said that he tries to buy toys based on development for his children even educational toys are less popular.

“We try to buy more natural brain building toys.  We focus on the developmental toys despite the increase in price and what the culture advertises,” Spierling said.

The NDP Group, a business that helps clients track their markets and understand consumers, creates a report each year.  Walmart is ranked number one in toy dollar sales in last years report.

Now that the economy is beginning to pick back up again, Hunholz said what big retailers like Walmart are doing with regards to the toy department.

Newbright toy on the shelves at Wlamart

New Bright toy on the shelves at Wlamart

“Bigger and more expensive items are being purchased by the retailers again.  Not to the point that it was in say 2003 but a lot more then in 2008,” Hunholz said.

Although the prices of toys were cheaper last year, consumers can expect more expensive toys to begin to fill the shelves everywhere, including the stores of St. Johns.

Toy sales, although a small piece of all goods and services offered out there, can be a good indicator of the state of the economy.

 

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