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Tablets v toys: What will retail best this Christmas?

A OnePoll survey, conducted in November 2016, found that on average parents spent up to £207 on Christmas presents including toys, per child – but what on and where are they spending the money?

Many retailers will remember the times when children got fruit in their Christmas stocking and precious little else. Baby boomers may have not been given very much themselves, but they more than made up for it with their own children, lavishing them with games and toys – golden years for the retail market.

Now, of course, games and toys have competition and it’s tough. Tablets and other digital gadgets are massive, but come in for a lot of criticism and so who will win the retail race this Christmas – tablets v toys?

The trend for spending online at Christmas

The trend in recent years has been for the amount of money being spent online to increase and for money spent on the high street to fall, but will that trend continue or will the high street fight back this year?

Back in September Toys R Us declared bankruptcy and this has widely been seen as a reflection of the move towards shopping online, favoured by many, but particularly by millennials. This may bode well again this year for companies like Proline Skates, an online retailer who are hoping for a bumper year selling skateboards, scooters and the like – all of which fare well with millennials.

The draw of a tablet will, however, prove to irresistible for many parents and this reality has not been lost on the companies who are developing and manufacturing them. Tablets also sell well online, for younger children the products most likely to do well are the all new Fire HD 8 and the Leapfrog, while for older children the battle between Samsung and Apple rages on.

In the case of more expensive presents, tablets, scooters, bikes, the ecommerce steamroller looks to continue in 2018, although which will come out as a best seller is unclear. It may, however, be a different story for stocking fillers.

High street sales looking positive

Stocking fillers are more likely to be purchased on a whim because they are less expensive and factors such as warranties are less important – this may be where the high street steps in.

The plight of the British high street has been well documented over the last few years, but figures released by BDO show that in September, there were some signs that trade may be picking up in the run up to Christmas.

Sales were up by 2.9 per cent, year on year, with the sales of lifestyle goods up by 3.5 per cent, but these figures may be skewed somewhat by early sales and promotions entered into by retailers who are nervous about the festive cheer they may or may not be party to.

At Christmas time in 2018, children will inevitably be given a range of gifts, some of which will come from the internet and others the high street. The type of gifts they receive will reflect on society and the marketing machines that attempt to steer our every move and the retailers who do well will have a close eye on these beasts.