Parents choose 'smart toys' over traditional playthings
Updated: 2014-06-01 07:21
By Shi Jing and Wei Tian (China Daily)
Children make toy block constructions at an animation show in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Traditional construction toys remained the top sellers on Amazon China's 2013 toy sales list, accounting for 25 percent of last year's sales. Li Zhong / for China Daily
Traditional playthings are perhaps becoming a thing of the past in China, as technology advances globally and incomes rise nationally. Shi Jing and Wei Tian in Shanghai report.
Smarter toys for smarter girls and boys.
That seems to be the mantra of Chinese parents who are buying more high-tech playthings for their kids to learn from, according to industry research.
Traditional infant and construction toys remained the top sellers on Amazon China's 2013 toy sales list. Each accounted for 25 percent of last year's sales.
But "smart toys", such as jigsaw puzzles and electronic gadgets, are rapidly catching up. Each accounted for 20 percent of last year's sales.
"Urbanites' demand for toys is beginning to change as incomes and quality of life improve," Hong Kong Trade Development Council Research Greater China principal economist Billy Wong said.
"There's a shift away from traditional, medium- or low-quality, battery-operated toys, construction sets and decorative toys toward innovative electronic toys and intelligent toys as well as upmarket plush and decorative cloth toys.
"High-tech electronic toys have caught on in recent years. Interactive, electronic toys with relatively high technology have emerged as mainstream items. Another growth area is smart toys that inspire imagination and creativity, and enhance in-hand manipulation skills. Toys for both learning and fun are well received by children and parents alike. Regardless of the children's age, parents' main motivation is to develop their intelligence and inspire their creativity and imagination."
Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Co Ltd, China's largest traditional toys and games manufacturer by market share, according to the data firm Euromonitor International, offers plenty of electronic toys, such as talking hippopotamuses and cashiers, and even a miniature "learning tablet" for 2-year-olds.