Emerging trends in toys for kids aged 0-3

Being able to spot emerging trends is essential to making or breaking it in the kids’ toys business. And Hippychick, which caters to the 0-3 market, is one that has always come up trumps when it comes to identifying what’s hot and what’s not since it was founded twenty years ago.

London Mums spoke to Julia Minchin, Hippychick’s founder, to get the low-down and to uncover her trade secrets. 

‘Reading, listening and observing the toy market is the most important thing to do all year round. But getting around the key trade shows in London, Nuremburg and Hong Kong are essential. It all happens in January/February, straight after Christmas. Anyone who’s anyone in the toy industry flocks to these shows to see what’s going to be top of the following year’s Christmas wish list. 

From there one has to then sift through the thousands of products that assault the senses and whittle them down to what’s right for your own portfolio.  What’s clear from the shows this year is that anything that’s got a llama, alpaca, unicorn or sloth on it is going to be in big demand.

The first toy product we took on when we started 20 years ago was Wheelybug, a ride-on toy that goes backwards, forwards as well as round and round.  We just knew, when we launched the original Ladybug design, that it was going to be a hot ticket item.  And it’s proved to be so, offering quality construction with immense play value.  Since we launched Wheelybugs in the UK, there have been literally hundreds of me-toos that have flooded the market.  But ours is well-regarded as the original and the best, and we’re endlessly proud to have the exclusive rights to sell it in the UK.

But we still need to stay on our toes with Wheelybugs. We work closely with our manufacturers to introduce new designs to the collection which over the years has included pigs, cows and hedgehogs.  We quite often look to fashion forecasters to see what’s trending, and unicorns have been really big business for some time now, with no signs of abating.  This resulted in a new Unicorn Wheelybug which introduced last year, has weaved new magic into the collection. 

Forget a horse and carriage. Alpacas are apparently the big thing at weddings.  And the power of social media has brought this trend rushing full (alpaca) pelt to the uk. These gorgeous creatures not only look absurdly cute but rumour has it the way they express themselves is by humming. Anything that’s trending on social media is necessarily going to impact the toy market too.  Cue the new Vilac alpaca ride ones which are to be launched as part of the Hippychick portfolio this year. Yes – you heard it here first and they promise to be a real humdinger of a seller!

Coral is the Pantone colour of the year.  We are working behind the scenes developing some Hippychick accessories to match this trend (watch this space) for launch this year, but we are certainly expecting sales of our Nattou Octopus in coral, Piu Piu, to accelerate.  Piu PIu is part of a collection called Nattou which has built its reputation on a combination of colour pallets based on trends in nursery design. Piu Piu, available in several colours as well as coral has velvety tentacles designed to resemble the feel of the umbilical cord. It makes a fabulous gift for new-borns, including premmie babies.

Sloths are getting some well-deserved attention, thanks to social media– and why wouldn’t they? They take a great picture with their smiley faces (better than any emoji) and who in this world wouldn’t want to cuddle a sloth?  Any London Mums out there with an idea for a Sloth toy that we can help bring to fruition?  We’d love to hear from you. 

Though trends are important, we also place huge emphasis here at Hippychick on quality, functionality and toys that promote activity and development.  Combining these essential values with fashion trends is what seems to have been our formula for success and we look forward to that continuing for at least another 20 years!’

To find out more about Hippychick’s portfolio of toys and nursery accessories, visit www.hippychick.com


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