India has huge scope in educational toys

Written by Mona Mehta | Updated: Sep 22 2009, 07:17am hrs
The UK-based Leap Frog, a technology-based branded educational-cum-entertainment toy brand, is setting foot in India. Chris Spalding, managing director (Europe, Middle East and Asia), visited India recently to hold talks with branded retail giants and premium department stores, understand the demand for educational toys in India and finalise an exclusive marketing and distribution tie up. He spoke to Mona Mehta. Excerpts:

Which are the products you are bringing to in India

Globally, Leap Frogs product portfolio focuses on three main families of products. They include reading solutions, educational gaming, grade school products and learning toys. Leap Frog products to be launched in India in the next four months include, Tag, Leapster 2and Zippity. Tag library comprises over 30 books and games based on favorite TV, movie and classic tales targeted at kids with preschool skills through playful book-based activities. Leapster 2 is an educational gaming device for four to eight year old kids and Zippity, an interactive educational game targeted at three to five year old kids. Globally, some of Leap Frogs innovative products also include ClickStart My First Computer (an educational computer system for three to six year olds).

Leap Frog has recently entered into an agreement with My Baby Excels, a premium toy brand, for India. My Baby Excels will be marketing and distributing Leap Frog products across the country, as per the agreement. My Baby Excels has brought international toy brands like My Baby Einstein, Disney Babies, WowWee among others to India. Leap Frog was founded in 1995 by Michael Wood; in 1997, Knowledge Universe bought a stake in Leap Frog.

Tell us about Leap Frog's retailing strategy for India.

Since My Baby Excels would be marketing and distributing Leap Frog products in India, the talks are currently on between branded retail giants and My Baby Excels to display and sell Leap Frog branded educational toys at the renowned branded retail stores of the Future Group, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Westside, among others. Fisher Price, Funskool are the existing educational toy brands in India and the demand for such products is growing with revival in the retail sector.

How is the global market demand emerging for educational toys

In EMEA, the educational toy market is over 800 million units in volume and the demand is growing at the rate of 30% to 40% per annum. We are foreseeing huge opportunity in India for such products as there is lack of branded variants on display at competitive prices at retail stores in the educational-cum-entertainment toy category.

What are the challenges in developing this market

In a competitive retail environment, it becomes imperative to increase visibility and availability of more branded variants in such categories that will drive consumption. To counter the lack of talented workforce, it is important to have talented sales staff to explain the product usage and ensure sales to retain customers. For the purpose, we are planning to have trained employees on the shopfloor to sell Leap Frog branded toys.