ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok website is displayed on a smartphone in an arranged photo.
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Social media has long been used by toy companies to reach children, but as that Coronavirus pandemic Apps like TikTok have become more important than ever.
TikTok is very popular in the US with users under the age of 16 because it brings together the best parts of Youtube, Instagram and Snapchat – Snacks, limited barriers between content creators and consumers, and authentic fun.
“While word of mouth is likely to take a back seat among the youngest children, especially as technology play dates are less frequent, children have gained access to new things through other means,” said Juli Lennett, an analyst with toy industry researcher NPD Group, wrote in one Email to CNBC. “With all of the extra time kids spend at home, I have to assume they are spending more time than ever on social media, watching TV / subscription video services, YouTube, etc.”
Social media influencers were the fourth most common reason for buying a toy, according to the NPD Group’s Consumer Tracking Service. A recommendation from a friend or relative was the number one reason, the item ranked second on a top toy list, and product reviews ranked third.
More than 100 million Americans use the social platform every monthTikTok said in August. That’s 800% more than in January 2018 when the app was used by around 11 million Americans. More than 50 million of these monthly users open the app every day.
With so many eyeballs, it’s no wonder toy companies partner with content creators to showcase products on the app.
Toy company Zuru told CNBC that TikTok had made a significant impact on sales of its 5 Surprise Mini Brands, an unboxing toy featuring miniature replicas of household products like Jell-O-Gelatin, pigeon shampoo, hostess twinkies and more.
“It was a combination of fan-generated videos and TikTok influencer videos that caused the insanity,” said Renee Lee, vice president of global marketing for Zuru.
The company has seen an average of 20 to 25 million weekly video views of its product. In its prime, Zuru sold more than 250,000 capsules per week across North America.
In the fall, Zuru announced that the 5 Surprise Mini Brands were beating sales estimates. The second capsule series, which may include Miracle Whip and Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, is more than 60% sold out at top retailers after its debut a few weeks ago.
“TikTok is unique in the fact that a user doesn’t need a large fan base for a video to go viral,” said Lee. “So we’re actively looking for super creative brand fans to work with instead of just looking at top-class influencers.”
Unboxing toys have become increasingly popular in recent years as videos of people disassembling the toy’s packaging and showing the content to viewers are some of the most watched content on sites like YouTube and Instagram. This trend has carried over to TikTok.
IMC Toys has had some success with its TikTok campaigns during the pandemic. The toy company makes VIP Pets, fashionable plastic dogs with super long hair. These toys need to be soaked in water to reveal their unique color, which makes them a fun unboxing and reveal toy.
Last week, IMC Toy’s TikTok campaign garnered more than 5.7 million views, ten times the company’s forecast. In the campaign, where TikTok influences influenced the establishment of salons for their VIP pet’s hairstyle, the number of link clicks was doubled and the engagement of a typical IMC toy campaign was increased six times.
These videos showed the features, accessories, and fun of taking the toy out of the box.
“In the US, initial retail volumes sold out in just two weeks and retailers were tracking inventory to replenish it for the holiday season,” IMC Toys told CNBC via email. “The excitement of TikTok and Instagram has given us a competitive advantage and increased the overall appeal of this absolutely unique product.”
The company has also invested $ 1.8 million in the development of VIP Pets content, including an animated web series and a live digital action series. Fresh content for consumers can boost toy sales even more.
“Not only do many of the toy companies partner with the top personalities on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, but they brand many of these toys with these kids, or they create toys that kids can use to mimic what they see from their favorite creators,” said James Zahn, executive editor of “The Toy Insider” and “The Toy Book”.
The TikTok duo WeWearCute, sisters Ashley and Emma, have more than 9.9 million followers on the app and helped get it started Mattels Barbie Color Reveal line. These Barbie toys arrive in a plastic container and are all painted in one color. Children need to dip the doll in water to wash off the paint and recognize the skin tone, hair color, and eye color of their toy.
For the past year, WeWearCute has sponsored paid sponsorships with Mattel, MGA Entertainment, Spin Master, and Cra-Z-Art, generating more than 250 million views on TikTok every month. Ashley, 19, and Emma, 17, have more than 500 million likes on their videos, which range from toy unboxing to collecting, baking challenges and crafts.
“There’s a direct correlation between what they do [on TikTok] and retail sales, “said Jim Silver, CEO of TTPM, an online toy review website. Silver also represents WeWearCute as its business manager.
The couple have a line of toys with Spin Master, which is sold exclusively at Walmart Shops from the end of October. These toys include a Click N Color marker set with interchangeable colored nibs and a Style N Create Light Desk for drawing and designing fashion outfits.
“WeWearCute was the perfect partner with a passion for fashion, style, crafts and toys,” said Arlene Biran, Spin Master’s senior vice president of activities and building kits, in a statement to CNBC. “Ashley and Emma have a keen sense of style and self-expression that really showed through the product development.”
The sisters have also teamed up with Jay Franco and Culturefly for a range of bedding, furnishings and subscription boxes for delivery in spring 2021. There is also a cosmetic set with Taste Beauty.
According to Silver, the duo are turning down more paid sponsorship videos than they record, including popular sneaker brands and beverage companies.
“It has to be authentic,” said Ashley. “We never want to make a product that we wouldn’t use.”