Parents want their kids to have fun and have fun with great toys. Owners of “furry children” are no different: they are looking for toys for their companions that can offer both comfort and stimulation, relieve anxiety and burn energy, and offer a mental challenge, all. by bringing the fun factor.
When it comes to plush and interactive toys, dog owners want toys that are innovative, durable and fun for everyone, and cat owners are looking for toys designed to stimulate the feline’s natural instincts and strengthen the human-animal bond. said Rachelle Rabasi, Marketing Director of The OurPet’s Co. in Fairport Harbor, Ohio.
“Overall, consumers are looking for fun, functional and quality toys,” she said.
Constant growth categories
Pet toys are more than fun and games, they are serious and important business. This industry category alone recorded sales of over $ 1 billion in 2016, up from $ 851 million in 2011, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4%, with similar annual gains. which are expected to continue through 2020, according to market research firm Packaged. Facts.
Rabasi forecasts category sales at a slightly more modest 3.2% CAGR through 2022.
Plush and interactive toys work well in the market.
“As a category, plush is pretty consistent, because it’s a type of toy that a lot of dogs really enjoy,” said Courtney Lawson Rush, sales and marketing manager for Troy-based Fluff & Tuff in Michigan, adding that it consistently offered high quality. , innovative options for retailers and customers maintain the strength of the category.
In 2016, among surveyed pet owners who purchased toys for their dogs, 25 percent of the toys purchased were interactive food / treat dispensing products designed to help busy owners keep puppies curious and playful. stimulated and busy, according to the American Pet Products Association 2017 -2018 National Pet Owner Survey.
Keep it fun
Pet toys offer retailers an easy way to add fun and color to their aisles, but perfecting the right assortment is essential.
When deciding which toys to buy, retailers need to know their market and constantly talk to their customers, said Cindra Conison, owner of The Quirky Pet in Montpelier, Vermont. It features Cycle Dog-Earth Friendly Pet Co. and West Paw plush toys on shelves and in baskets.
“Do your homework,” she said. “Ask what types of dogs they have and their play and personality to help them buy the best toys. I know what my customers won’t be buying higher.”
The stores are expected to offer a wide range of diversified products to meet the needs of a greater number of customers, said Irene Diaz, sales representative for ZippyPaws in Chino, Calif. However, in order to maximize storage space, they must carefully select an attractive and varied assortment that doesn’t overwhelm customers, she added.
Courtney Lawson Rush, director of sales and marketing for Fluff & Tuff, based in Troy, Mich., Agreed that retailers shouldn’t overdo it.
“Give customers options, including an assortment of sizes and prices, but not too many,” Lawson Rush said. “Where independents continue to shine is by providing excellent product information and exceptional service. Thus, educating clients on how different sizes and styles provide varying “playability” can help clients choose the best option for their puppies. “
But at the end of the day, store owners know their customer base better, and there are consistent “staples” that work well regardless of the season, Lawson Rush said.
“Playing around with seasonal assortments and coming up with a different mix keeps the inventory fresh and helps grab the customer’s attention,” she said. “It’s important to have fun, these are dog toys after all.”
Fun spots and interactive plush toys
Interactive products that offer engagement rewards are becoming more and more popular and companies are offering more toys with different challenge levels to accommodate more pets, said Irene Diaz, ZippyPaws sales representative in Chino, in California.
Pets of all kinds enjoy interactive toys because they can relieve boredom, pose a challenge, and release pent-up energy, Diaz said.
“Our interactive terriers are a fun way to engage pets while improving their coordination,” she said.
Zippy Burrows, which includes a hideout with three squeaky toys inside, comes in over 45 versions including raccoons, hedgehogs, pigs, and many popular foods.
The new Storybook lines, Fairytale and Fiesta, feature a range of different types of toys, including Zippy Burrows, which are linked to stories that revolve around the two main characters in the lines, Charlotte and Liam.
The characters were inspired by the children of a ZippyPaws employee, said Jennifer Cao, the company’s co-founder, vice president and designer.
“I watched Charlotte in real life exclaim her love for unicorns and William, 22, loved colors and fiesta-themed movies,” Cao said. “These characters are not only fictional, but they take on the features of our ZippyPaws family.”
All over the world, fairy tales are shared with children, so Cao thought to himself, “Why can’t we do the same for dogs? The Unicorn Fairytale line follows the adventure of Charlotte the Unicorn, a unicorn in search of her magic wand. The Fiesta line follows Liam the Llama, a curious and kind soul who helps his family on a quest to find missing candy. Their full stories can be found on the company’s website.
“ZippyPaws is particularly proud of the Storybook lines because they are the first lines to be made in direct relation to the humanization trend in pets,” added Diaz.
OurPet’s Co. aims to provide toys designed to motivate dogs and keep them active during all types of play. The Grrrassic Bonded Tough Dog Toys line, which debuted in late 2018 and includes the Grrrassic Retrieval, the Grrrassic Tug and the Grrrassic Toss, is made in the USA with high tear resistance BPA and latex free rubber directly bonded to a durable rope. These toys, which come in yellow and blue (colors dogs can easily recognize), are tough enough to throw, bounce, retrieve and shoot, and they even float, according to the Fairport Harbor, Ohio-based company.
Dog products could account for the lion’s share of pet toy sales – cat toys account for 25% of category sales, according to market research firm Packaged Facts – but cat owners are also researching safe and durable toys that are good value for money and supportive. an active lifestyle for themselves and their pets, said Rachelle Rabasi, Marketing Director of The OurPet’s Co.
“Interactive electronic toys add a realistic feel to cats because they do more than look like real prey, they also act like prey,” she said. “These toys respond to your cat’s hunting instincts, keeping them happy and healthy.”
In the first quarter of this year, The OurPet’s Co. will launch the Feather Dome Electronic Spin Toy, which features a wild, swirling feather to pique feline curiosity and encourage pouncing as it spins, entering and exiting the dome, offering the ultimate game of hide and seek. The erratic movement of the feather, coupled with the company’s instinctively stimulating proprietary RealMouse sound, can deliver the benefits of a natural hunting experience while keeping cats safe and sound inside the home, according to The OurPet’s Co .
Retailers are showing great interest in OurPet electronic cat toys, Rabasi said, and the company is responding with displays and demonstrations to help sell them.
When Fluff & Tuff develops new plush toys, which primarily focus on animal design, the company considers what it calls the “playability” of specific shapes, because not all animals make a good toy out of them. dog plush, said Courtney Lawson Rush, director of sales and marketing for the Troy, Michigan-based company.
“For example, the elongated shape of our fish or caterpillar has little or no chewing ends,” she said. “While the arms and legs of our sloth and monkey are fun to flip and shake. With over 50 different toys, there are an assortment of shapes, sizes and styles of play, ensuring options for every dog. “
Some of Fluff & Tuff’s 2018 launches were Gordon Stingray and Manny Lobster, as well as redesigns of Wally Mallard and Monty Python, and a new Camo Ball. Looking ahead, at this month’s Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, Fluff & Tuff will be launching five new toys.
The company is doing what it can to make sure playtime lasts a long time by “focusing on the little details that help extend the life of the toys,” Lawson Rush said, such as “the stitching double stitched, reinforcement where limbs meet the body, and premium exterior and interior fabrics fit together to provide a quality, well-made plush toy. “