Global supply issues driving higher toy prices in the UK, Profitero reports

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By Dan Graziano, director of media relations at Profitero

Now’s the time of year when retailers begin heavily promoting their  hottest toys for the holiday season. With global supply chain problems driving up toy manufacturing and shipping costs, however, consumers will find little holiday joy in the prices they will be paying for Barbie dolls and LEGOs this year. 

Global eCommerce analytics company Profitero recently analyzed nearly 1,000 toys sold by leading U.K. retailers and found that prices have increased 4% since last September, which is 1.1 percentage points higher than the national inflation average reported by the U.K. government

Profitero also analyzed toy inventory at leading U.K. retailers and found out-of-stock rates at 22%, almost five times higher than the peak three months at the start of the pandemic in spring 2020. 

Barbie, Hot Wheels, My Little Pony, and Paw Patrol products are predicted to be the hottest and hardest to find toy products this Christmas season, based on early Amazon search trends. Amazon searches for “Barbie dolls” are up nearly 2,000% since last October, while searches for Paw Patrol, My Little Pony, and Hot Wheels are up 191%, 176%, and 56% year-over-year, respectively. Profitero has found that sharp spikes in Amazon searches are often a good predictor for spotting products that are at risk of running out of stock more quickly.

Comparing prices across the most heavily-trafficked U.K. retailer websites (Amazon U.K., Asda, Argos, and Currys), Profitero found Amazon offered the cheapest prices on the most popular toys — averaging 9% lower than the competition. 

Toy prices at Amazon were 11% cheaper on average than the same products at Asda and Argos. Currys was the most competitive with Amazon, with toy prices being only 3% more expensive on average.

Profitero is continuing to monitor prices across major retailers and categories ahead of the holidays. The company’s fifth annual Price Wars study will be released in November with new data and insights that show how popular retailers compare across major categories like appliances, electronics, fashion, sports and outdoor tools, video games, and more.