The industry survived, if not thrived, during its first winter without ToyRus as a major retailer. Amazon, Walmart, Target and dozens of local specialty stores and new experiential stores took up the gauntlet. Most striking is how “high priced” tech toys took a back seat to what we’re calling “lighter tech” — the use of AR, personalization, sensors and personality-filled toys took center stage. The emphasis was on great storytelling and tried and true classic play patterns.
Big media and big tech joined forces to share thought leadership on how to provide kids’ agency, and hands-on opportunities with emerging technology as the toolset. Creativity, exploration, multi-generational play and a walloping dose of STEM/STEAM based tools heralded a new generation.
For families, it was all about inviting tech to be an integral part of the family household, whether it was the presence of voice-activated assistants or smart home devices. From baby tech designed to eliminate the stress of young family life to caregiving and intergenerational communications, tech has become entrenched in family life.