TOY HEAVEN: Claudia Joseph, of Dunoon, goes shopping at Lismore Toy Kingdom for her ninth birthday, which is next Wednesday.
TOY HEAVEN: Claudia Joseph, of Dunoon, goes shopping at Lismore Toy Kingdom for her ninth birthday, which is next Wednesday. DAVID NIELSEN

Fun and games in economy

WHILE Claudia Joseph goes toy shopping for her ninth birthday at Lismore Toy Kingdom, she is blissfully unaware of her role in the country's economic recovery.

But according to a study by business analysts IBISWorld, it is toy and sports good purchases that are predicted to lead a comeback in personal spending, with toy retailers topping the list of industries set to recover from the economic downturn more rapidly than most.

“The economic recovery will see a shift in consumer shopping trends, with higher income levels and stronger consumer confidence prompting less demand for second-hand goods and more people returning to major retailers, particularly in the video games market,” IBISWorld general manager Robert Bryant said.

The analyst predicted that while buying kids the latest toys or upgrading their sporting gear may have been put on the backburner for the past 12 months, it will be one of the first areas parents begin spending on again when disposable income rises - particularly near Christmas.

IBISWorld forecast that revenue for this sector will rise by 2.3 per cent this financial year to $1.49 billion, before growing slightly more (2.5pc) in 2010/11 to $1.53 billion.

Lismore Toy Kingdom owner Carmel Horner agreed with the projected figures.

“Over the last year we've seen a change in spending patterns,” she said.

“Instead of buying bits and pieces, parents are saving up for birthdays for big-ticket items. Parents are looking for high quality and value for money. Games have picked up as people are looking to do more things as a family.”

And if lay-by sales are anything to go by, toy retailers can expect IBISWorld's prediction of a financially merry Christmas to come true.

“October sees a really big spike in Christmas lay-by,” Ms Horner said.

She expected a return to normal in consumer sentiment.

“I think we'll soon see mum and dad back in the shop picking up the latest playground craze, rather than just for birthdays and Christmas,” she said.



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