5 Retailers Cashing In On The Fall of Toys R Us

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

In the first holiday shopping season post-Toys R Us, retailers are vying to fill the void and become Millennial parents’ go-to spot to shop for toys…

The holiday season is upon us, and Millennial parents are looking for somewhere to shop for their kids. According to our Pre-Holiday Shopping Topline, 84% of 18-36-year-old parents plan on shopping for the holidays this year, and 53% will be buying games or toys—and it won’t be at Toys R Us. Even though the retailer did everything in their power to keep their doors open, including rethinking brick and mortar by creating an AR app experience in their stores, they couldn’t stop their downhill slide. The company reported a loss of $36 million, blaming the “cultural shift” fueled by apps for decreasing their video games and electronics sales, along with competitors’ “discounting spree[s]” over the holidays. So, after their “devastating holiday season” last year, the toy company was forced to officially file liquidation papers and sell or close its more than 700 U.S. stores. Nostalgia-craving Millennials who grew up with the store close to their hearts didn’t take the announcement so well, going online and posting tweets like “RIP Toys R Us. The end of an era,” “So sad. I was a toys r us kid,” and “A whole generation of ToysRUs kids are crying inside right now. Smh.”

But in the midst of Toys R Us’s demise, the toy industry continued to boom. Kidscreen reports that U.S. toy sales jumped 7% in early 2018, with the NPD Group finding that revenue rose to $7.9 billion for the first half of the year. CNBC reports that mourning shoppers nostalgic for the toy giant could be responsible for the revenue hike, and Toys R Us themselves is attempting to come back from the dead with a pop-up wholesale experience for those sentimental shoppers. But they’ll…


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Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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