Sinterklaas, some retail facts and figures.

It’s that time of the year again when children have impatiently awaited the nightly arrival of Sinterklaas bringing them toys and sweets. He sure has some toy stores to choose from. But where does he find the largest assortment or the most promotions? And should he compare prices before blindly going to the nearest retailer for a specific item?

Unique assortment

Looking at the assortment of some of the largest toy retailers in Belgium, there’s a clear difference. The visualization below shows the assortment in toys and gaming for 4 retailers and the overlap between the assortments. We only take into account toys and gaming SKUs because other categories are not relevant for Sinterklaas.

If you want to avoid choice overload, it might be better to stay away from a pure online player like bol.com. Their assortment in toys is enormous compared to brick and mortar stores who are also selling online. In brick and mortar quite a large difference in assortment size for toys and gaming exists. Maxitoys, with an assortment almost fully dedicated to toys and gaming, is offering the most choice. Followed by Fun and then Dreamland. These two retailers are also offering categories other than toys and gaming of course.

But how relevant is the element of choice during Sinterklaas? Children compose their wish list and the good man mostly matches their demands. So can you find what you’re looking for at every retailer? You probably can at bol.com given their huge assortment size. But for the brick and mortar retailers a large part of the assortment seems to be unique. There’s only about 500 SKUs that are available at all three of them. Between 66% and 88% of the assortment of each brick and mortar retailer is unique in our comparison, so the best option probably depends on what’s on the wish list.

Visualization showing the overlap between the assortment in toys and gaming for 4 retailers. For total assortment, all numbers in one bubble need to be added up. For total overlap between two or more retailers all parts of overlapping bubbles need to be added up. (Data on 26/11/18 by Daltix)

Relatively low promotion pressure

After Singles Day, Black Friday and what’s more, can we expect another round of high promotion pressure during Sinterklaas? At Dreamland a very low share of the assortment is in promotion, less than 2%.  While Fun has a share of 18% of its assortment in promotion. Maxitoys is in between with just over 8% of products in promotion. Big differences between retailers but the amount of products in promotion is relatively low. We can argue that price sensitivity is less of an issue when it comes to buying presents for kids. Good news for the retailers!

Big price gaps for specific products

However, it’s not because a retailer has the most products in promotion that they are the cheapest for all products. Price tracking based on Daltix data shows that for some common products there are very substantial price differences. Scroll through the graphs below to show the evolution of the lowest price, including promotions. Looking around some different retailers before deciding where to buy can definitely pay.

For a Lego City Train the price difference goes as high as 153%.  Another Lego product shows a 138% difference between the most and least expensive stores at the same moment in time. The same story goes for some Playmobil products where we saw differences of up to 174%. Parlor games show a similar pattern with differences of up to 200%.

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Conclusion

These findings show us that it’s not really worthwhile waiting until the last days to buy presents. Promotions were relatively scarce in the weeks before today and no major price changes showed up for the products above. However, it pays off to check out different retailers before buying a specific product! Some large price gaps exist and it’s definitely not always a pure player who is the best buy.

 


This is an analysis done by BrainTower on data provided by Daltix.


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