Exactly five years ago, on May 1, 2016, I re-encountered the toy market.

And my hobbies – theater, adventure travel and modern art – gave way to more sophisticated concepts like Gormiti, Fireman Sam and packs of dinosaurs.

Big Data e giocattoli/ Big Data and toy market

Just as 30 years earlier, I rediscovered a passion slumbering in a memory drawer: Legos.

And just as I was intent on building „the world’s tallest super tower reaching to the sky“, my imagination suggested a metaphor that links my work in the field of Big Data to the Lego universe.

Big Data is like millions of individual bricks of different colors and sizes, Artificial Intelligence is the ability to choose them, selecting those useful to our purpose and then combine them to obtain information with which to achieve our goals. Including business ones.

Precisely because I’m convinced that data-driven strategies can also help companies in exporting their products, I wanted to take a closer look at the current Italian toys market.

A niche mainly made up of artisanal realities, heroes who resist the low-cost toy and who believe in quality and in the importance of play as a tool to support the cognitive and physical development of children. A world that in turn can benefit from technology to grow in Italy and abroad.

First of all, the way of buying has changed: e-commerce has joined the big stores, there are few traditional shops in city centers and the number of Italian producers has decreased. Consumption habits have also changed: alongside traditional toys such as dolls and constructions, videogames are becoming increasingly important. According to an analysis carried out by Doxa, this is the sector of the kid economy with the strongest growth in recent years.

As far as international trade is concerned, every year Europe imports about 7.4 billion euros worth of toys and exports 1.4 billion. In the last 10 years, imports have grown exponentially: by 40% to be precise.

An analysis by Confartigianato based on Eurostat data places China at the top of the list with 47.9% of toy exports to our country (212.7 billion dollars of global turnover), far behind second place France with 12.5%, followed by the Czech Republic (11.9%), Germany (7%), Spain (4.8%) and the UK with 3.8%.

In Europe, the main exporters are the Czech Republic (20.7%) and Germany (18.7%).

Italy, on the other hand, exports around 400 million euros every year in toys, mainly to France (19%), Germany (14.2%) and Spain (9.4%).

Outside the European Union, Italy’s best customers are the USA (2.8%), Mexico (2.7%), Russia (2.5%) and Switzerland (1.8%).

In Italy, we are talking about a market made up of around 700 companies for a growing turnover of around 3 billion euros.

Northern Italy leads the way with 60% of companies (33.6% Northwest – 23.5% Northeast). Lombardy is in first position with 22.7%, followed by Emilia-Romagna (10.5%), Veneto (10.1%), Tuscany (8.7%), Piedmont (8.6%) and Campania (7.9%).

These are the companies in the Italian toys and gaming market that you should know:

  • Clementoni Spa
  • Marim Srl
  • Gemar Srl
  • Artsana Group
  • Androni Giocattoli
  • Garlando Spa
  • Giochi Preziosi
  • Lisciani
  • Quercetti
  • Cristaltec Spa
  • Dulcop International Spa
  • Mazzeo Srl
  • Magic Games Srl
  • Trudi

The trend of the last years is positive, both for the big companies and for the small artisan producers that, thanks to digital, are able to propose their offer all over the world. An effective way to give the right visibility to one of the many excellences of Made in Italy.

Looking to the future, I feel positive. Will conscious parents be able to reward those who invest in quality? I believe so: and it’s precisely to these parents that companies must address their products. Everywhere in the world.