Marketing Psychology: Maintaining Toy Demand Post Holiday Season

If you’re a parent, have you ever wondered why you find yourself in a line, expensive toy in hand, after the holiday season?

I have.

Whether you are loaded with gift cards or cash-in-hand from family and friends, there is always that one big spend after the holidays.

This is not an accident. Toy manufacturers have our number!

Toy manufacturers are faced with the dilemma of keeping demand post-holiday. Luckily, they have a strategy for that. It starts with the basics of supply and demand, add a splash of marketing and a thick layer of psychology – and wa-la, we are the fools in line in February.

How it Works:

Your kids are dialed into toy advertising pre-holiday, whether on an iPad, the Cartoon Network or the flashy toy catalogs that come in the mail. Retailers and manufacturers spend a lot of money promoting the year’s hottest find(s). Kids beg their parents for the “toy of the year” and the parents undoubtedly promise that if they’re good, Santa will bring it or it will be a gift from mom and dad.

This toy is the primo gift and your child cannot wait to get it. It is the topic of every conversation and you’re excited to gift it.

Edan Gelt Chicago

You go holiday shopping and to your amazement, the toy is out of stock. Everywhere. All the stores have ordered it but they have no idea when it is coming in and every store in a 30-mile radius is depleted.

You look on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and the toy is 10 times the retail asking price.

In hopes of the toy actually being stocked, you wait. And wait. And wait.

A few days before Christmas, you give in and buy something else. A substitute. Something the same manufacturer has created similar to what was actually wanted but different enough to not be the “ultimate coveted toy”. And on Christmas day, you have one very disappointed child.

In hopes your child will be happy with the substitute gift, you move one. The toy companies don’t, neither does your child. “You promised” or “Santa thinks I’m bad,” is all you really hear.

The manufacturers start once again heavily marketing that coveted toy online, on TV, within games and then, there you have it; you are back at the store buying the promised gift, post-holiday on a blustery day in February.

This is not a coincidence. This is the strategy of economics, marketing and psychology. The toy manufacturers heavily advertise pre-holiday, create a shortage in the midst of holiday but offer a substitute, resupply post-holiday and heavily advertise.

Now that you know how it work, will you still be in-line next year post-holiday?

By: Edan Gelt, CMD, MBA
Marketing Strategist

Concept for this blog came from “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Ciladini PhD

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