A greener generation of Spanish parents
In a study carried out by the Technological Institute for Children’s Products and Leisure (AIJU) for The Spanish Association of Toy Manufacturers (AEFJ), 80% of the 3000 families interviewed in Spain indicated they recycle daily, and 76% give a second life to some products by reusing or donating them. These numbers are promising, also when asking parents about the toy industry, but there are some challenges to face.
First of all, most parents don’t have a clear or unified definition of what a sustainable toy means. Even so, many indicate that a sustainable toy is probably made of wood or fabric, does not require batteries, and is based on alternative educational methods such as Montessori, Waldorf, et cetera. They also relate sustainability to products that are resistant and durable, can be passed from generation to generation, are timeless, and offer a lot of playability. And, while these are great features in a sustainable toy, families consider that they still have a lot to learn about it. For instance, most of them, 65% are still unaware of toys made with biobased plastics.
The fact is that, at the moment, it is still quite rare for Spanish families to value sustainability as a relevant criterion when buying toys. However, the good news is that the number of parents who are looking for toys made with sustainable or recycled materials, and with easy-to-recycle packaging is increasing continuously.
The data shows that parents with only one child under 3 years old, and first-time mothers younger than 30 years old, value sustainability in toys more than other parents. Moreover, this specific target is willing to pay more for a sustainable product (up to 10-15% more than the average).
Regarding sustainable toy perception, a relevant number of families (63%) consider that the supply of sustainable toys is low or very low, and 91% do not associate any brand with sustainability.
Spanish manufacturers are embracing sustainability
Most toy companies in Spain are embracing the eco-movement. AIJU’s study highlights that almost half of them (48%) consider themselves quite aware of the issues related to the environment, and 24% think they are very strongly aware. The main ways they are considering to implement this trend is by choosing more sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. They are also adapting their packaging by minimizing the use of materials, choosing recycled cardboard, non-toxic inks, and even designing them in a way that gives them a second life. This is very relevant for the Spanish market, as parents report to be more concerned with toy packages than toys themselves. In general, they consider the packaging excessive, difficult to recycle, and with a very short life.
Spanish distributors are taking advantage of the eco-friendly movement
On-line channels specialized in sustainable toys are blooming in Spain, what is aligning with the preference for ecofriendly parents to buy on-line. And something is changing in traditional toy retail as well. Some distributors are implementing campaigns to promote toys from different companies under a sustainable umbrella. For instance, El Corte Inglés has created eco-friendly toy areas in seventy stores where it has arranged more than 400 sustainable toy references made with plastic recovered from the sea, bioplastic, recycled cardboard and recycled cellulose, toys made of FSC certified wood or fair trade, among others. The reality is that half of Spanish distributors consider that sustainable toys will have a high impact on the market during the next 5 years, and they are preparing for it.
In conclusion, parents, manufacturers and distributors in Spain are all moving towards a more eco-friendly attitude, which will certainly influence the way the industry and the market will function in this country in the years to come.