As in many nearby businesses, due to the coronavirus pandemic, toy stores can only open in limited days and hours, letting very few customers pass at the same time or serving them from the door. On the side of those who buy, time is running out. Even for those who want it online shopping, because delivery may take several days. There is little more than a week for Children’s Day, which this year falls on Sunday August 16 and the sector call to anticipate purchases, to avoid long lines in toy stores and prevent infections.
City toy stores must be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. That leaves five more business days to choose the gifts in situ or buy them online and pick them up on the premises. Therein lies the problem, because one way or another, people will go to toy stores: sales show an encouraging outlook for the Argentine toy industry, which has been hit hard after two years of falling production. From the chamber of the sector they explain that parents will make an effort for Sunday 16 to give them a “compensation“To the boys for these long months of confinement, and in fact many of the products that are growing in sales are associated with the use of free time that boys and girls are doing in this quarantine.
“The country is very varied in terms of the sector, for example, in Jujuy you could enter toy stores and a few days ago they no longer went back to phase 1 and the people who did not buy there could accumulate now. In Ciudad, the allowed hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., you can enter one person for every 15 square meters and very recently they were able to open toy stores on the avenues. They are going to get closer to the locals. In Province, the sale is only take away and also generates delays. Due to all these differences, even more so in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (AMBA), we ask the entire country to buy the gift for the boys first“, explains the Clarion Emmanuel Poletto, president of the Argentine Chamber of the Toy Industry (CAIJ).
Either due to the restrictions on the entry of customers to the premises -as happens in the City and in the areas of the country with fewer restrictions- or the take away, in the Province, it is last-minute purchases that generate the dreaded agglomerations.
According to e-commerce data collected by the sector, in recent days online toy sales increased 400%, because the quarantine encouraged merchants to sell on Instagram or create online stores. “Many of those transactions (also from Mercado Libre) they were anticipating the purchase of Children’s Day. But many more will go shopping even the Saturday before. I saw it myself for Father’s Day, rows where there was no social distancing. If there are many more clothing stores than toy stores, the situation for this Sunday may be dangerous“, sum.
The concern is such in the area that Poletto discussed it in the province directly with Augusto Costa, the Bonarense Minister of Production, and with his Buenos Aires counterpart, José Luis Giusti.
“Merchants want to sell but also protect themselves and prevent their employees from being infected. We want the same care with customers, something that can be avoided with a planned purchase“, closes the president of the toy makers.
So far, the most chosen as an anticipated gift for Children’s Day are the table games, something that intensified from the first month of isolation of the five who already have boys and girls at home. Sales of Didactical games. The curiosity of the anticipation of the gift is that they were also chosen a lot the skateboards. From the Chamber they assure that the date, winter, is not prone to the boom of articles to use outdoors and that these sales are probably due to recreational outings “or the desire to go out.”
The clear thing is that more toys are bought. Promotions with public banks – such as Banco Ciudad, which from August 10 to 13 will offer discounts of 30% and 3 installments without interest; or the same discount plus the 12 interest-free installments of the BNA cards- generate good expectations for this date and in the last days already showed a strong reactivation.
The Children’s Day season represents 60% of annual toy sales in the country and the category “games and toys” covers more than 50% of the gifts that are made. In toy stores that have 80% imported toys, the average ticket would be around $ 2,800 per unit per person, while in toy stores that offer 50% national products and 50% imported, the average ticket per toy would be estimated at $ 650, according to camera data.
In the area most affected by the circulation of covid-19, the AMBA, is 95% of the productive capacity of the toy industry that supplies all of Argentina. With the protocols that the chamber itself drew up and then were approved by the Government, currently the entire sector is operational, both in factories and in customer service. August is going to be the month in which the toy joins the small list of items that do not have the numbers in red.