The days of specialist toy manufacturers for local markets are long gone. In a globalized world, manufacturers operate in multiple markets with internationally recognized brands, often linked to films, television and video games. This creates opportunities for growth, but it also means complexity in terms of regulatory compliance.
The market for toys is growing – 2% in the last year – with many manufacturers now operating on a global scale.1 Traditionally strong markets, such as the US, Europe and Japan, have continued to perform well during the upheavals of the last few years, but at the same time, emerging markets like Mexico and Brazil are starting to show real promise in terms of opportunity for growth.
Mexico is currently the second most valuable toy market in Latin America, with predicted growth of USD 1 billion between 2019 and 2024, to reach an estimated USD 4.8 billion.2 In Brazil, an average of 1,400 toys are released annually and the market has seen considerable growth in recent years – 21% in 2020 and 14% in 2021.3
Globally, manufacturers can benefit considerably from operating in these exciting, emerging markets but to access them successfully they must ensure compliance with all safety and performance legislation.
Governments around the world have introduced complex regulatory frameworks designed to protect their consumers from unsafe, low-quality toys. Without compliance to the standards, manufacturers risk a variety of negative impacts, including damage to the brand and costly product recalls.
While navigating the regulatory landscape in one market can be difficult, it can be nearly impossible for a non-expert to understand and assimilate the range of legislative requirements needed to operate in multiple markets. No two market’s regulations are exactly the same. At the same time, they are also constantly subject to revision. For example, among the changes we’ve seen this year are toy regulation amendments made by Thailand, Denmark, Georgia and Hong Kong. At the same time, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has consulted over listing nine chemicals as substances of very high concern (SVHC) to their candidate list, one of which was isobutyl 4-hydroxybenzoate (Isobutylparaben (IBP)) which is used in modelling clays.
Depending on which countries manufacturers wish to sell their products, they may find market compliance requires any of the following:
- Mandatory certification – inspections and audits of manufacturing facilities
- Compliance testing – ensures compliance with mandatory safety and performance standards
- Label reviews – ensures labels contain the correct information, meet regulatory requirements and are written in the correct language(s)
Therefore, to ensure ongoing compliance requires expert, up to date knowledge of the legislation being enforced in multiple target markets.
Opportunity without risk
It is therefore easier for toy manufacturers to work with a service provider that has the abilities and resources to create a bespoke assessment process covering all target markets. They must be able to understand and support compliance with each of the individual standards that are enforced by the authorities in the market in which they operate. This will not only simplify the process but also protect them from potential compliance failures.
Taking a comprehensive approach to product compliance will ensure conformity with everything from label reviews and mandatory facility audit requirements to safety and performance testing. It has the advantage of allowing the manufacturer to work with a single service provider for global coverage, reducing complexity and enabling opportunity while reducing the risk of market failure.
In addition, by working with industry experts with a global reach, manufacturers also have access to consultancy services that enable them to optimize the process for entering new markets.
We have developed International Type Approval (ITA) for Toys to help manufacturers ensure product compliance with the regulations being enforced in all target markets. The manufacturer works with industry experts through a single point of contact, defining what standards must be covered before the necessary inspections, audits, sample selections and product testing solutions are undertaken. Test reports and other relevant documents are then sent to all approved stakeholders – for example, importers.
ITA for Toys helps manufacturers:
- Differentiate their products in multiple markets
- Ensure regulatory compliance
- Avoid costly penalties/recalls
- Explore new, global markets
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For further information please contact:
Toy Business Development and Technical Manager
SGS Connectivity & Products
t: +31 (0)6 5154 2190
References1 Year-to-Date 2022 Global Toy Industry Sales Grew 2% Over Last Year - The NPD Group 2 Toy market value in Mexico 2024 | Statista
3 Toy market in Brazil presents one of its best performances - Francal Feiras -
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