Global Supply Issues Driving Toy Prices Higher in the U.K.

October 28, 2021
Dan Graziano
Written By
Dan Graziano

LONDON - October 28, 2021 — Now’s the time of year when retailers begin heavily promoting their  hottest toys for the holiday season. With global supply chain problems driving up toy manufacturing and shipping costs, however, consumers will find little holiday joy in the prices they will be paying for Barbie dolls and LEGOs this year. 

Global eCommerce analytics company Profitero recently analyzed nearly 1,000 toys sold by leading U.K. retailers and found that prices have increased 4% since last September, which is 1.1 percentage points higher than the national inflation average reported by the U.K. government

Profitero also analyzed toy inventory at leading U.K. retailers and found out-of-stock rates at 22%, almost five times higher than the peak three months at the start of the pandemic in spring 2020. 

“Empty shelves, out of stock listings, delayed shipping, and higher prices have already become the norm for U.K. consumers, but these problems will only magnify throughout the holiday season, especially for high-demand seasonal categories like toys,” said Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director of EMEA & APAC at Profitero.  “Consumers should start their deal-hunting now to avoid paying more later in the season. And be prepared to shop around because the hottest toy products will likely run out. ” 

 

Barbie, Hot Wheels, My Little Pony, and Paw Patrol products are predicted to be the hottest and hardest to find toy products this Christmas season, based on early Amazon search trends. Amazon queries for “Barbie dolls” are up nearly 2,000% since last October, while those for Paw Patrol, My Little Pony, and Hot Wheels are up 191%, 176%, and 56% year-over-year, respectively. Profitero has found that sharp spikes in Amazon searches are often a good predictor for spotting products that are at risk of running out of stock more quickly.

 

Comparing prices across the most heavily-trafficked U.K. retailer websites (Amazon U.K., Asda, Argos, and Currys), Profitero found Amazon offered the cheapest prices on the most popular toys — averaging 9% lower than the competition. 

Toy prices at Amazon were 11% cheaper on average than the same products at Asda and Argos. Currys was the most competitive with Amazon, with toy prices being only 3% more expensive on average.

 

Profitero also examined prices for popular brands like Barbie, Fisher Price, Disney Princess, Hasbro, Hot Wheels, LEGO, L.O.L. Surprise, Nerf, Paw Patrol, Play-Doh, Playmobil, Star Wars, and Vtech. Amazon once again came out on top with the lowest prices for 11 out of the 13 brands analysed. The retailer was cheaper on average by 23% for Nerf products and 20% cheaper for Barbie products. Asda had lower prices for Hot Wheels and L.O.L. Surprise toys, however, with prices that were 19% and 9% lower, respectively, versus other retailers studied.

Profitero is continuing to monitor prices across major retailers and categories ahead of the holidays. The company’s fifth annual Price Wars study will be released in November with new data and insights that show how popular retailers compare across major categories like appliances, electronics, fashion, sports and outdoor tools, video games, and more.

Methodology 

Each day, Profitero monitors prices and other data on more than 70 million product pages across hundreds of unique retailer sites. For this study, Profitero analysed daily prices of 862 identical toy products from 1 October to 14 October, 2021. Retailers examined include Amazon U.K., Asda, Argos, and Currys, which were chosen based upon online traffic, assortment of products, and a high-level of consumer interest. Profitero’s methodology includes comparing online prices between retailers only on items that are identical (same UPC, brand and pack configuration). The study only compares first-party prices collected on the same day, with both retailers in-stock. Where prices were unavailable for both retailers on the same day for matched items (as in the case of out-of-stocks at one retailer), items were excluded from Profitero’s comparison. Brand pricing was examined only in situations where a match existed between Amazon and at least one other retailer. Profitero utilized an indexing system with Amazon as the benchmark to equally weigh products at each retailer with a matched product to determine the average percentage difference between products on Amazon and other retailers studied.

About Profitero

Profitero is a leading global provider of eCommerce performance analytics. Google, L’Oreal, General Mills and 4,000 other brands use its platform to measure their eCommerce performance across more than 600 retailer sites and mobile apps in 49 countries. Profitero’s proprietary technology and algorithms estimate daily sales for products sold on Amazon and provide actionable insights to improve product content, search placement, ratings and reviews, availability, assortment, and pricing to help brands identify competitive advantages and accelerate their eCommerce sales. On average, brands that use Profitero are able to grow their Amazon sales 70 percent faster than category competitors. To learn more, visit www.profitero.com

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