Toy Shortage UK Covid-19
Having been in the Toy industry in the UK for over 15 years. Running my own distribution company and brand of kids quad bikes. Hawkmoto and retail website RideOnToy.org specialising in Kids Electric Car products. I have never quite seen what we are currently experiencing which leaves me to wonder what is Christmas 2020 going to bring for children. If having there GCSE exam result and A Level Results predicated and then downgraded wasn’t enough of a shock to their systems, Christmas looks like its also going to present some challenging scenarios.
Back in March when Boris Locked the country down and kept us all at home the Toy Industry went into overdrive and parents all over the country scrambled to cleared the shelves of Toys. Every retailer in my network has nearly nothing left to sell and had their entire summer stock decimated before March was over. Then Came the Heatwave which compounded the issue with millions of kids stuck at home, any Summer Paddling pools and Large Outdoor pools, Swings and slides were next on the hit list for parents. All the retailers had the Summer stock cleared by the end of March and large importers scrabbled to restock turning to China to produce to restock before June..
China Toy Shortage 2020 Industry Hit Hard
The problem we faced as importers was that China were already 2 Months behind production when they returned back to work after Covid meaning they had a 4 month wait time before any goods could be produced let alone be shipped. This struck the industry another blow. With the backlog of orders growing across all retailers website and stock diminished, toy retailers across the World pushed the factories hard for faster delivery times only to be told that the USA Market has in most cases been prioritised as they have the largest retail market and place the largest orders. So Orders Placed in March are being produced 90-120 days after order. meaning the whole toy industry in the UK suffered massive set backs and couldn’t replace their stock until August sailing from China and September Deliveries for the Summer stock that was cleared out in March.
As importers and wholesalers battle with the ongoing space issue on ships due to ships being parked up for covid-19 the factories order books were filling up and they they are desperately trying to catch up. One Factory i have dealt with for almost 10 YEARS took my orders only to cancel them 3 months later after receiving deposits telling me they wouldn’t be able to produce the goods until early November. This isn’t a one off, two other factories asked me to decrease my order numbers or they too would have to cancel orders down.
Smaller retailers who would normally order Christmas stock in July – Mid August ready for the Christmas are now struggling to get production space if they can get any at all in time for the Christmas period. As a wholesaler we are seeing large retail customers daily calling us asking us weather we would sell them stock that they would normally bring in themselves as they are being quoted February Delivery times after being let down by factories. This is a real issue happening behind the scenes in the Toy industry and as an experienced importer with many trade customers and connections in the industry all we are all talking about is what are we selling for Christmas 2020 as the factories cannot produce the goods or have no production time available for 120 days plus at the moment.
What Products Are Affected
Kids Electric Cars have been hit quite hard, Trampolines and Swimming and paddling pools also. Hot Tubs went crazy this year, with people selling them on ebay for over £600 second hand. Why? because the industry was hit so hard and fast we couldn’t possibly have stocked up for it. No retailer , wholesaler was ready for the demand that happened on that night Boris locked the country down. creating a massive toy shortage of Swing and slides sets were sold out everywhere and all the largest importers were unable to get products produced in time to restock before the Kids go back to school in September meaning they missed the kids school holidays.
Ride On Toys were fortunate enough to have had strong relationships with our factories and suppliers, however it hasn’t been without its challenges and we have also been out of stock of products for most of Summer 2020. mainly Kids Electric Cars however with good fortune and luck we are starting to see our stock levels slowly return to Normal however it hasn’t been without many sacrifices on range of products we were able to order, and this is Industry wide.
What To Expect This Year When Buying Toys
Expect there to be wide scale toy shortage of product and limited ranges of products. Products you think will be popular will most likely be out of stock early into the Christmas Season. Kids Electric Cars and kids quad bikes are definitely on the hit list and will be short stocked as i know 6 large importers who cannot get any production schedules and each of them would likely bring in 20 Containers each per year. So there is circa 100 containers short already. The toy industry is currently in the background scrabbling for stocks and fighting daily battles to secure shipping space and production space in china. My own containers that did ship have already been delayed by more than 3 weeks and were only in august. as i write this.
I am concerned for the upcoming season and i think we will see a shortage of toy products like the industry has never seen at such a crucial period.