Four fifths of parents struggle to get hold of the toys their child wants at Christmas, Blue Yonder reports


Research by predictive analytics firm Blue Yonder has found the pressures on parents to get the must-have toys are rising, with 78% of parents admitting to either feeling stressed, disappointed or angry at not being able to get their hands on the Christmas presents at the top of their children’s letters to Father Christmas. This difficulty has lead to 50% of Christmas shoppers being put off retail brands, with 23% stating they would not shop with a brand for two months after the failure to provide the Christmas toy they wanted and a further 28% stating they would never shop with the retailer again.

The survey of 2,000 parents with children under the age of 16 found that one in five shoppers felt angry at retailers if they could not get the gift they were looking for, rising to one in four in London and Northern Ireland, and some even felt angry at other shoppers, with men twice as likely to feel disgruntled with fellow shoppers.

That is despite the fact that 40% of parents’ shared that the Christmas presents they buy their children are never used, costing the average household £83 a year, with one in four spending over £100 a month on unused toys.

One in 10 parents take out loans to be able to afford their children’s Christmas presents, but one in three refused to buy presents on their child’s wish-list due to the cost. That said, 97% of parents have tactics in place to get the best price, including:

  • Shopping on Amazon/online (74%)
  • Looking for bargains throughout the year (54%). Women are most likely to look for bargains throughout the year (59% women versus 46% men)
  • Shopping on Black Friday/ Cyber Monday (40%)
  • Interestingly one in six parents wait for the January sales to buy Christmas presents
  • One in five people admitted to buying a toy at Christmas and returning it if they found it cheaper
  • One third of parents pre-order toys before Christmas to ensure they get the right toy
  • Nearly one third of parents recruit friends and family to help get the toy

The results also show that, despite some going into debt over Christmas presents for their children, desperate-to-please parents are also willing to pay above the odds to get their hands on the right present. The average person is willing to spend 15% more and one in six stated they would pay 25% more than the usual RRP if it meant they could get the right toy. Already stressed out parents are also willing to add to their load by travelling to ensure they get the must-have toy. Parents will travel an average of 22.27 miles and almost one in 10 would travel more than 50 miles.

It is crucial at this time of year for retailer’s to fully understand the levels of demands for individual products in each of their stores in order to avoid consumers travelling extensive distances and ensuring that they do no run out of stock. Predictive data analysis that uses historical data and external factors can predict which products are likely to be sold at individual stores and how many.

Markus Juhr deBenedetti, chief revenue officer, Blue Yonder, said: “Christmas is a time of high-pressure for parents and retailers have an opportunity to deliver the best experience to help reduce stress and spread Christmas cheer. It’s very easy to get stock levels wrong during the golden shopping period, but in an age where technology and data are available to help predict demand levels, retailers can and should make sure they don’t lose out. By ensuring parents can get their hands on the right toys in the right shop, at the right price, retail brands will reap the benefits.

“Failure to deliver will be costly.  Consumers will be put off your brand, with 50% stating they will avoid you for at least two months, if not for an even further prolonged period.”

The research also uncovered habits with regard to online and offline shopping. When asked whether they do their Christmas shopping online, 86% said they either do most or some of their Christmas shopping online, which rises to 92% among women. Only 2% admitting they avoid online Christmas shopping altogether, but these respondents were overwhelmingly male. The findings also highlight that 17% of people buy presents that don’t arrive in time.