COVID-19

Parents are buying a lot of toys for kids during the pandemic

Samantha Fields Oct 26, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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People walk past an open toy store in June in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
COVID-19

Parents are buying a lot of toys for kids during the pandemic

Samantha Fields Oct 26, 2020
People walk past an open toy store in June in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The holidays and the associated gift-giving will be here before we know it, which has us wondering how toymakers have been faring recently. Mattel just reported one of its best quarters in a decade, and Hasbro on Monday shared results for quarterly revenue and profit that beat analyst expectations.

Parents have been buying toys to keep their kids occupied, and this holiday season is likely to be a big one for toy companies.

When the pandemic started and so many people were suddenly stuck at home, a lot of them responded “by buying games, buying puzzles, buying building sets, arts and crafts,” said Steve Pasierb, CEO of the trade group The Toy Association. “So you saw huge growth in the toy industry at a time where normally the toy industry is fairly quiet.”

Pasierb said he expects that trend to continue right into the holidays, especially since it’s harder to give experiences this year.

“What we hear from families is that they want to preserve the holidays for their kids. They want presents under the tree,” he said.

In a normal year, Cara Santos Pianesi and her husband, who live in Virginia, try not to buy their two kids a lot of presents for the holidays, “just because we don’t want to spoil the kids,” she said, who are 10 and 12.

But this year?

“Would we think about getting more? I think that there’s a good case to be made for that this year for sure,” Pianesi said with a laugh.

Because, she said, they’re looking for ways to keep the kids sane, bring them some joy and get them away from screens.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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