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Avoiding Disappointed Customers in the Toy Industry

Consumer CompactToys and Juvenile ProductsJanuary 22, 2020

Christmas is an important time for toy manufacturers. Figures from the UK show that 30% of toy sales occur before and just after Christmas.i In the US, 42% of all shoppers will buy toys, making it one of the most popular gift sectors.ii Following Christmas 2019, manufacturers are now turning their attention to Christmas 2020. How can they benefit from this high-volume sales period while drastically minimizing returns?

Globally, the toy industry is currently seeing some decline – down 3% internationally and 8% in the UK.iii Manufacturers and retailers are therefore under pressure to deliver high quality products that conform not only to market regulations but also consumer expectations. 

Unsurprisingly, periods of high sales also correspond to periods of higher returns. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including unwanted gifts and breakages, as well as products that are not fit-for-purpose. If a gift is unwanted, there is nothing the manufacturer can do to mitigate against this risk but, if a product isn’t fit-for-purpose or doesn’t match the description, manufacturers can easily mitigate the risk by taking a holistic approach to quality management in the supply chain. 


Many governments initiate legislation to protect children. For example, in the European Union, toys are regulated by Directive 2009/48/EC, the so-called European Toy Safety Directive (TSD). In the US, toys are regulated under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) 2008. In Japan, manufacturers will need to consider the Japan Food Sanitation Law (JFSL). Most countries have some sets of regulations to protect children from dangerous toys.

Toy manufacturers will also need to consider other regulations and standards when trying to access markets. For example, in the EU, suppliers may also need to consider the regulations such as Cosmetics, REACH, RoHS, and EMC. Products that fail to meet these regulations are liable to recalls.

Going Beyond Regulations

The key to consumer satisfaction is ensuring only high-quality products arrive on the shelf. This requires a holistic approach to both quality and safety during product development, and quality assurance throughout the supply chain. If the product arriving on the shelf conforms to market regulations and consumer expectations, it is far less likely to be returned post-Christmas. 

The main factors helping to deliver quality products to the market are the:

  • Establishing of robust management systems for quality and safety 
  • Early identification of risk within product development and production 
  • Maintenance of strong safety and quality protocols throughout production
  • Instigation of safe and smooth systems to progress products along the supply chain
If a manufacturer develops and maintains these elements within its supply chain, the end product has a good chance of meeting or exceeding consumer expectations. 

Getting It Right, First Time

SGS offers a comprehensive range of services to help toy manufacturers deliver safe, compliant products that meet consumer expectations. Our experts can assist with quality and safety protocols, identifying risk, product research, benchmarking and performance testing. In addition, we provide a range of control services, including product failure analysis and test-to-failure to help manufacturers understand where problems occur. 
Toys are one of the most regulated markets in the world. Different regulations are enforced by different markets. SGS experts understand these regulations and can help you ensure your products meet the requirements of your target market.

Testing protocols for toys include:

  • Physical and mechanical tests
  • Chemical tests 
  • Materials tests 
  • Food contact tests 
  • Flammability tests 
  • Performance tests 
  • Microbiology or microbiological tests 
  • Electrical safety tests 
  • Electromagnetic compliance (EMC) tests 
  • Environmental safety tests
  • Packaging tests 
  • Battery tests
  • Internet of Things (IoT) tests

SGS offers a one-stop solution for manufacturers accessing toy markets around the world. Wherever you operate, SGS has the capabilities in place to help you exceed the expectations of your customers. 

For more information, please contact:

Sanda Stefanovic
Toy Business Development and Technical Manager
SGS Netherlands
T: +31 (0)88 214 45 17


i  Toy sales slump as shops chase Christmas cheer
ii Christmas Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)
iii Toy sales slump as shops chase Christmas cheer

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