“Kids these days,” so they say, “aren’t interested in real toys. It’s all about computer games.”

This, or variations of it, is used to explain why sales of traditional toys are doomed. It’s used to explain why companies with histories longer than the Mulsanne straight are struggling to survive the 21st century.

While it’s an easy-out to brand computers the root of an industry’s troubles, is it actually true?

Maybe we should ask Lego if Minecraft actually damaged their business?

Maybe we should ask my son’s friends who sit and play for hours on his Scalextric track.

More importantly, despite some high-profile toy companies struggling or going under, the bigger picture for the toy market looks pretty good.

 

Fit for the 21st Century?

The truth is, unsurprisingly, more complicated and nuanced than that.

In many cases, existing business problems were exposed and amplified by the way we buy things in 2018.

It’s important to remember that Borders didn’t close just because Amazon sell ebooks.

Blockbuster video didn’t close just because Netflix sent DVDs in the post.

So, to claim computers have killed traditional toys is a nonsense. The market is thriving.

Just as video hasn’t killed the radio star, the Xbox hasn’t killed the slot car star.

And so, it will be those slot car makers who are able and prepared to flex their businesses, the one’s who intelligently embrace digitalisation, that will also thrive.

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