Collecting Kids

Collecting Kids

1 in 4 kids* French kids aged 7-9 have a collection. It might be a collection of action figures, toy vehicles, stickers or trading cards but whatever a child is collecting, it's the ultimate accolade and advantage for any brand owner, particularly if that brand has a short lifespan of appeal to a narrowly defined age group.

What makes a toy collectible? Many people define collectibles by their price point. If multiple toys within a range are at an affordable, "pocket money" price or a reasonable price for a parent to pay for multiple times, then that might be your definition of a brand that "should" (in theory) be collectible. It's often how toy market data is presented within the industry.

But being a collectible toy is not quite the same as being a collectible brand. A brand which inspires kids to obtain its products across multiple categories of merchandise has "fans" rather than collectors. They can be motivated in a whole plethora of ways to accumulate and consume diverse versions of their favourite brand, without being constrained by a toy type or a play pattern. A toy collector, on the other hand, is more introverted by nature than a fan and sticks to similar, comparable items, seeking to complete and curate their collection.

In France, only 1 in 4 kids appear to be "the type of child who collects" in this way. Over a third of those who don't collect anything can't see the point - they think it's a useless pastime - but many also haven't yet found that "thing" that will inspire them to start a collection.

The ultimate goal of many brand owners is to have brand fans, rather than collectors. The engagement and relationship they create with their fans reaches far beyond ownership of product and yet is intrinsically connected to the success of their brand in building and maintaining market share. Lego's multi-faceted programme of engagement is an excellent example of how to build and capitalise on fandom rather than collecting per se.

What is the magic formula for fandom? There are formulae for each cognitive stage, age, each gender and child typology, depending on whether you view marketing as a product selling exercise or a brand building one. The trick is to know which formulae will engage and motivate the broadest spectrum of kids, and activate your brand plan accordingly.

For more information on trends in Collecting and Fandom,across 43 markets worldwide, take a look at Kidz Global's reports, The Kid Consumer and BrandTrends.