As the holiday shopping season looms in the wings, a few previous powerhouses in the toy industry are making some big changes. Toys R Us has re-launched their website with some new features, and a curious partnership with Target. Walmart, not being satisfied with simply being an online and in-store juggernaut, is also looking for new ways to engage with kids, launching their own new web-related enterprise.
The interesting part about these new ventures is their motivation to do so. If you have a child under the age of 10, or are close with someone who does, you might be familiar with the YouTube “unboxing” trend that has piqued the interest of seemingly every toddler with a tablet.
For those of you who are unaware of this explosive trend, here are the cliff notes: it is literally videos of kids and/or parents opening up packaged toys and observing/playing with them. That’s it. While the phenomenon doesn’t make a ton of sense to parents (myself included), it has captured the whimsy of throngs of children, and amassed video views in the billions (there are just too many to count).
This craze, which is documented as long ago as 2014, is the motivating factor behind both the restructuring of the Toys R Us website, as well as the plans for the two new brick and mortar stores projected to open soon.