UK toy sales decreased in 2017 by 2.8% falling to £3.4bn. This is a rather shocking fact considering how the UK population has grown, the digital age feeds toy advertising and toys no longer can just be bought in shops but now online too. So why has this decrease in sales happened? There are a few factors that have contributed to the dip in the sales market, including underperforming licenses, the impact of Brexit and the ever growing concern of counterfeit toys. This shocking information has come from the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and the NPD Group.
The announcement was made at the 65th Toy Fair in London on Tuesday 23rd of January 2018. Despite the small decline in sales, the UK still has the largest toy market in Europe. It is estimated that 10-12% of toys sold were counterfeit, meaning a £400m loss to the industry.
Don’t purchase counterfeit toys!
There are huge safety concerns. The plastics used to make the toys can contain harmful chemicals, they could be brittle and break easily causing harm to your child, and dyes used can be toxic. This dangerous cocktail can cause injury, cancers and even death to your children. Please don’t take the risk. Why save a few pounds when your child can be in serious danger?
Some of the top toys that were faked in 2017 included the popular Fingerlings, L.O.L Surprise and Hatchimals. Many of the fakes available online and even in stores, look exactly like the real things. Do your research and buy from reputable suppliers. If you’re unsure of the stockist AVOID. Once upon a time, parents would find counterfeit toys on UK market stalls and carboot sales, but now fraudsters can easily sell online from around the world and even use popular sites such as Amazon and Ebay.
Are you about to purchase a fake?
- Is your toy suspiciously cheap? If the price is too good to be true, you’re probably about to buy a fake.
- Look to see where your toy is being shipped from. If the toys are being shipped from overseas (China being a popular place for fakes to be created) check that the supplier is legit.
- Is the seller a reputable company? Try to only purchase toys from well know suppliers such as Toys R Us, Smyths or other well known highstreet shops and websites.
- Does the toy and packaging look good quality? Many fakes may look just like the real deal, but compare images of the genuine product to what you are about to buy. Counterfeits are often smaller or larger than the original, colours are off and even the packaging can look cheap and flimsy.
- Don’t trust positive feedback. Many online buying sites have feedback pages. These reviews can be faked and some fraudsters even hire people to leave fake positive feedback!
Natasha Crooks, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the BTHA said “We are disappointed but not surprised by the contradiction of the market from 2016’s exceptional performance. The increasing breadth and depth of counterfeit toys is a real concern, with over £400m worth of sales being lost to the industry, as well as theft to companies from the theft of innovative design.” Counterfeits were seized in their tens of thousands in 2017, but the issue is still a huge concern.
If you suspect counterfeit toys are being sold by someone you know, or there is a stockist that you are aware of, the easiest and most efficient thing that you can do is call your local trading standards, or by calling ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040.
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