Mattel to Challenge Lego and Hasbro in China

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020 by Danielle

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Mattel plans to grow past competitors through digitally connected toys by 2020.

Mattel, one of the world’s biggest toy manufacturers, plans to grow by a magnitude of 3 to 4 times in China’s toys and games market by 2020. With its efforts centering around digital connected toys, it plans to blast past its competitors, namely Lego and Hasbro.

The highly fragmented toys and games market in China is worth an estimated $30 billion, and Mattel believes it can propel itself past its competitors by investing in e-commerce and leveraging its core brands and positioning them as educational toys that feature some sort of Internet connectivity. Presently, Mattel owns roughly 2 percent marketshare, while Lego has 2.8 percent share and Hasbro has about 1 percent of the Chinese toys and games market.

In an effort to better appeal to millennial parents, Mattel has been reimagining its core toys, creating artificially-intelligent Hello Barbie Hologram, Hot Wheels cars embedded with smart sensors, and the next generation of View-Masters with virtual reality. All of these new digitally connected toys are expected to debut in Fall 2018.

According to CEO Margo Georgiadis, the former Google executive, a need exists for developing motor skills and social-emotional skills in China, as there is presently much focus on straightforward learning and development. Georgiadis was hired for her tech-savviness and knowledge of e-commerce. Mattel has plans to reveal retail areas integrated with play clubs as a strategy to sell its toys through strategic partnerships. Mattel already has established partnerships with Alibaba and Babytree.

Hot Wheels Speedometry teaches children about various topics ranging from measurement and distance to potential and kinetic energy through hands-on learning by building various racing tracks. Since Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends are popular in China, Mattel has plans to add more educational features to these core products.

Comparing the U.S. toy market and the Chinese toy market, there are over 200 million children in China, whereas there are only 55 million in the United States. It’s a magnitude of over three-and-a-half times of the US market, so Mattel recognizes this huge business opportunity. Given that all three major toy companies – Lego, Mattel, and Hasbro – have a small slice of the market, it will be interesting to see how much marketshare they will be able to capture by 2020 and beyond.

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