By Rieva Lesonsky
What do kids want more than anything? Toys. And with 73.8 million kids in the United States (ages 0-17) selling toys means big opportunities for American small businesses.
The toy business has changed substantially in the last few decades. Most (70%) of the world’s toys are made in China, most of them in Shantou, a coastal city in the southeastern part of the country, with a centuries-old tradition of manufacturing. To get a closer glimpse of the “toy capital of the world,” take a look at the latest Discover Today video from Alibaba.com.
While overall exports from China were down 7.5%, toy exports are up nearly 10%. And in Shantou itself, where there are millions of toy factories, ranging from small workshops to international giants, toy industry sales skyrocketed—from $150 million to $4.5 billion—just in the last decade alone.
If you market to kids (of all ages) —or want to—take a look at some of today’s most in-demand toys.
RC cars and more
One of the most popular toys today are cars. And Rastar Group specialized in manufacturing all kinds of remote and radio control (RC) vehicles, including cars, car models and riding cars and motorcycles. The company also makes scooters, bicycles and motorized luggage. Rastar started in 2000 and has a registered trademark in 48 countries and regions around the world.
The company has also about 300 licensing and distribution agreement from the world’s largest and best known car brands, like Ferrari and BMW. For instance the BMW XR has adjustable mirrors and is available with six or 12 volts of power. The target market is kids 3-8 years of age.
The newest hot items from Rastar are robot dogs, what move forwards and backwards, can turn in either direction and can sit or lie down. The dogs can even lift its hind leg. The dogs work on infrared technology and you can connect up to 10 dogs at one time.
Quality control is an important part of the manufacturing process at Rastar, where one production line produces about 500 cars a day. The cars are tested to make sure their quality meets high U.S. standards in a lab on Rastar’s premises.
Miniature cars, trucks and tanks are also quite popular these days. Shantou Chenghai Great Wall Plastic Factory, which started in 1995 and started making miniature RC vehicles in 2000. The company sells in 15 countries around the world.
Great Wall is showcasing three of their vehicles are featured during March Expo. This includes it’s most popular toy, the Mini Racer, which is a RC car. One charge lasts 20 minutes, and it only takes seven minutes to recharge, giving kids hours of fun. The Mini Racer is so compact—it’s comes self-contained in the remote—and fits in a consumer’s pocket or on a belt loop. It comes in four designs, and is perfect for kids to take with them wherever they go.
Great Wall also makes a cool Whistle Car. All a kid needs to do is turn the car on, put it on its track—which is expandable—and blow on the whistle. The sound of the whistle sets the car in motion, zipping around the track.
Another popular item is the RC mini tank. It’s the smallest tank of the market—and comes fully equipped with a cannon.
Quality is also important at Great Wall. It takes 50 to 60 pieces to build one car, and the factory produces 5,000-6,000 vehicles a day. Great Wall says joining Alibaba.com increased its sales and branding visibility.
In the past, we’ve thought of toys as something young kids play with. And then came drones—which have become a worldwide sales phenomenon among kids (young and old) and adults. Drones are now a $8.5 billion industry and the Shantou Sanjoyo Trading Company is a big part of that.
Drones are so popular these days, and Sanjoyo offers several models. There’s the DIY Battle drone, which comes in pieces customers can assemble themselves. These drones shoot infrared rays at each other—and if a drone is shot three times, it automatically falls from the sky (safely, of course). The DIY Battle drone comes with a camera (single angle and Wi-Fi) and VR glasses.
Then there’s the Bugs 3 Mini, a foldable, easy-to-carry drone. These pocket drones come with remote control, VR googles and 5G Wi-Fi. Their brushless motors are more efficient, give them longer battery life. The Bugs 3 Mini is speedy, traveling nearly 33 feet per second.
Sanjoyo was founded in 2012, and worked with Alibaba.com from the beginning.
Creating and innovating
This Discover Today video highlights the heavy investment in R&D Chinese companies are making. They’re creating high-quality goods. In this case the toys are well-crafted, interactive, fun to play with and on the leading edge of technology. As the video says, the label “Made if China” is out and “Created in China” is in.
Buy now for the best deals
Rastar, Great Wall and Shantou Sanjoyo are just three of more than 58,000 sellers participating in March Expo, Alibaba.com’s month-long sale featuring lots of deals, promotions and discounts. To take advantage of the deals, check out the action on Alibaba.com and the Alibaba.com mobile app today through March 31.
Stay current on all the great opportunities at March Expo by following @AlibabaTalk and the #DiscoverNewMarch hashtag on social media.