Whilst it may be easy to think that not much has fundamentally changed with teddy bears in the last one hundred years or so, we are beginning to see a real shift in the way toys, and stuffed toys in general, are being used and perceived around the world. This blog looks at the major trends which are likely to shape teddies and the ways they are designed, made and of course used over the next few years.
With climate change and the environment having played an increasingly significant role in the media over the last few years, we are seeing companies of all types making changes to mean their businesses are becoming more ‘green’. And the toy industry is not exempt from this. We are increasingly seeing soft toys being made from more organic, sustainable materials, and less of the harmful plastics which are filling up our landfills. Big brands such as LEGO have made big moves towards more sustainable plastics by releasing figures sourced from sugar cane and by time stamping their commitments to more responsible products and packaging.
Mixing toys with technology
Apple is leading the way with Parker their AI teddy bear, paving the way for a generation of tech-hybrid toys. Appearing like a usual bear, with no hint of wires or batteries, this teddy helps children to practice the art of medicine by allowing in-depth examination of the toy’s bones and organs and following diagnosis of certain ailments, allows the children to treat them and make him better. Whilst the Western industry is not yet awash with toys of these kinds, it is only a matter of time before our teddies can hold a conversation, walk unaided, or who knows, maybe the virtual world will win, and we won’t play with anything physical at all!
Toys like us (the real us)
A hugely positive shift we are seeing in the toy industry, is the increasing ability of toys to meet the real shapes, sizes and abilities we have in the world of today. We are moving from a world where Barbie’s waist size would mean there was no room for her organs, to one in which wheelchair Barbie and hearing aid Hulk are available on the market. Largely pioneered by fantastic the #ToyLikeMe campaign, companies producing these realistic toys are changing societal attitudes for the better and we can’t wait to see where they will take this over the next few years.
The rise of the experience
Today, we are seeing more and more the importance not only of the products, but also the experiences which accompany them. This could be via a unique in-store experience or the increasingly popular trend of ‘unboxing’. This is quite literally how it sounds and customers will often share their unboxing experience on vlogs and social media. This means that product packaging, and its design and consideration is becoming even more pivotal in the success of a brand and we can’t wait to imagine the future of Loved Before in this context as well!