Kids Russia, exhibition of children’s products focused on industry professionals, was held on March 01-03, 2015 in Moscow with the support of the Ministry of Industry. The exhibition was bright, catchy, and the structure of the exhibition as a whole reflected the essence of what is happening in the market: a large part of it is represented by import. Besides, Russian products are often formed on the basis of other licenses (the distributor of today’s global culture) and rent of moulds (ready form of Western products are imported to Russia, products cast in the Russian factories, and the forms return after the “production” back).
Attitude to globalism – debatable, philosophical and ideological. However, if a global company from early childhood accustom Russian children to Western culture, we get global-thinking next generation regardless of the parents’ view. Not to mention the likely impact of monsters on the psyche of children and cheap Chinese materials on their health .
In pre-revolutionary writings on education of children (XVIII-XIX centuries), and earlier in “Domostroy”, we would not find the role of toys given to them now. Children of the nobility or of the peasant received education aimed at labor and vocational training, and role in the household. The little man worked as much in the field of knowledge or assistance in the household, and toys were originally indulgences (not to disturb adults, if yet not a worker) and often served as educational and developmental goals. Today, the role of toys, in the light of the education of enlightened consumerism, and serves as the exaggerated cult of irresponsible idleness.
In connection with the foregoing, not pretending to a comprehensive scientific assessment of the problem, I would like to draw the attention of parents to our toys (for those who want to pass the tradition). For those that are not tailored according to the disney cartoons and legends and the profit of our past. For those toys that are designed to develop the child and to awaken in him a good feeling. Yet there are such examples, and it is made by enthusiasts.
Briefly about the market of children’s goods in Russia in general
The market of children’s goods saw growth in 2015 (upon different estimations, by 2-23%, to 509 bln RUR). In 2016 it may grow by 3-3.5%, to 530 bln RUR. Until the end of 2020 the market volume can increase up to 2-2.5 times, up to 700 billion rubles.
The market growth is predetermined by the increase of the birth rate, which affects sales more than the falling real incomes of the population. Besides, there is no habit to save on children in Russia. Parents buy the toys, not where it is cheap, but there where they see more choices.
It looks life-affirming. But about 80% of the market, according to the Russian prime-minister D.Medvedev, are «of foreign production or counterfeit, often dangerous to health».
The government in 2013 developed a “Strategy for the development of the Children’s Goods Industry (IDT) up to 2020”, which aims at “the development of multidisciplinary innovative and attractive children’s goods industry in the Russian Federation”. It is about the transition of the industry towards innovation, in parallel with the “Development of culture and tourism in the 2013-2020 years”. Transition is regulated by the state, who support its development in the right direction.
The Strategy will provide a national technology platform “Infrastructure of childhood” and innovative industrial cluster “Territory of childhood”, where manufacturers will provide tax benefits. Thus, by 2020 domestic toys will make up 45% of the market, 20% is innovative. In addition, they will drop in price by 15%.
On the website of the AIDT (Association of Children Goods Industry), we see that the essence of support measures currently defined cost recovery on loans and leases in priority investment projects. Priority projects for the industry are supported following the results of competitive selection, but thet are selected from large companies only with a staff over 75 people and a turnover exceeding 150 million rubles per year.
The economy is designed so that government support is the most powerful factor of development. I.e. those companies that are moving in the same direction that the policy of the country, have very bright prospects. We asked questions to national 5 based producers, whether they feel support? And everywhere the response ranged from negative (“no”) to probably negative (“there are conversations, but not yet”). From this we can conclude that in a large scale Russian national toy can hope for a rise in demand only (the development of the national trend and purchasing power).
According to D. Medvedev, “Parents don’t want to buy Soviet-quality goods at inflated prices”. At the same time, among the largest producers are those who offer this type of goods (the quality and price I can’t discuss without research, I talk of type only).
Nord Plast produces quite “Soviet” line with tanks for boys and kitchen sets for girls. Factory Spring and produce Russian Style familiar to us from childhood toys.
Development Director factory Russian Style Konstantin Dvoeglazov explained that the company has a modern range of positions, as well as traditional one. Outside of licence, in particular, exercise machines, blocks, embroidery and magnets are produced. Series “Russian fairy tales” is manufactured here too. The idea of traditional education is supported by affordable prices (segment “average minus”). So, puzzle (jigsaw) costs from 20 roubles, vyshivanka – from 99 rubles, and designer – 200 rubles.
Other companies produce products based on Russian culture, made from the natural material on traditional subjects. This production is the most valuable souvenir, which is hunted by foreigners in Russia.
Workshop Serebrov produces noise and wind Russian folk musical instruments, mostly made of wood. This is not so much the toys in the modern sense, but a musical-pedagogical products of premium performance, professional artistic painting on the base of Nizhniy Novgorod traditions. At the exhibition stand of the company seemed especially bright, because, under the capable hands of music teacher Ilya V. Zaitsev whistles, xylophones and rattles came alive and played popular songs. The company’s products are available – price range from 69 rubles for a spoon to 127 thousand rubles for the domra. It’s hard to imagine anything more sweet to the heart of parents who would like to give a taste of Russian music to children.
Warrior workshop produces original baby armor and weapons. This is probably the best choice for dad, who decided to raise their Chad masculinity. The range allows you how to develop the skills of attack and defense, and, in addition, will teach children how to make swords, bows and armor of their own. For girls the company offers only kokoshniks and sundresses. The sword will cost to parents from 350 rubles, it is inexpensive because the company’s executives set a goal of promotion of traditional martial arts and join the children.
Teremok (Pelsi) from Novosibirsk brought to Moscow terrific designers of natural well sanded birch. Among educational toys we see even looms for girls. Price starts from 250 RUR.
Christmas ornaments os glass balls of Russian-Ukrainian company ASK – M is something detached. Glass balls, bells, umbrella are hand-painted with fairy-tale winter landscapes. Business gifts in the form of a large bowl will cost 1’500 – 2’000 RUR.
D. Medvedev believes, that «no one will buy domestic until it is of poor quality». What kind of poor quality he sees in domestic toys is not specified. But I guess that is not about these companies, quality of production which can be seen with the naked eye. Market prospects in General were encouraging, mainly due to the trend of online sales. Despite the fact that “innovation” is clearly not quite traditional Russian products, all these manufacturers have websites, where you can consider goods carefully and order it.
Sources: Mangustin, Russian Association of Children’s products, Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Russian Association of Children’s products , Russky Style, Pelsi, A.S.K. – M., Moscovsky Komsomolets, Ratnik, Masterskaya Serebrov