Toys will always appeal to people regardless of age. Basically, we all grew up playing with our favorite childhood toys. As adults, there are still toys that cater to grown men and women. Nonetheless, toys bring joy and satisfaction no matter how old you are.
If you want to create your own business and passionate about toys, then having a toy business is a no-brainer. Some creative entrepreneurs make their own unique toys to sell to their target buyers. On the other hand, you can opt to import toys for you to sell to your target buyers.
The question is: where are you going to import toys for sale? In China — the world’s biggest manufacturing and importing hub. However, you may get confused as to which kind of toys to sell to your target market. Finding the right toy supplier from China is as tedious as well.
While challenges during the entire importation process may be inevitable, importing products – including toys – from China should not be as complicated as you imagine it would be. This article will walk you through the basics of toys importation in China.
Why China is a great import source of toys
As mentioned, China is the world’s largest manufacturing and supplier hub. Basically, you can find all sorts of products to sell in this country, including toys. For one thing, Chinese suppliers offer the most affordable prices in the world especially if you are considering buying in bulk.
Despite the recent closure of giant toy retailers such as Toys R’ Us, the toy industry continues to thrive thanks to e-commerce. In fact, you can buy the same toys you see on physical toy stores in online stores such as Amazon.
According to a 2016 report, total toy exports around the world reached more than $97 billion. Out of those figures, China accounts for almost 46 percent of the total amount of toy export. Other top toy exporters based on that data include the US, Hong Kong, Germany, and the UK among a few.
That said, the toy industry is not dead yet. This is mainly due to e-commerce which paved the way to help the toy industry is continuing to thrive despite the business landscape changes in the toy market. With the wide assortment of products China currently offers, there’s no wonder this mega-country is the go-to place in terms of product importation.
Importing toys from China
The toy industry is actually broad because there are different kinds of toys to begin with. These include:
• Action figures
• Stuffed toys
• Infant toys
• Developmental toys (for toddlers)
• Puzzle books and games
• Arts and crafts
• Toy cars and guns
• Dollhouse sets
• Kitchen sets
• Role-playing toys (ex. toy baby strollers for little girls, toy broom and dustpan set)
• Riding toys (ex. rocking horses, cars, bikes, scooters, etc.)
• And many more!
With that plenty an option, you may be overwhelmed as to which kinds of toys you will import and sell on your business. Here is a step-by-step process of toy importation to help you get on the right track:
1. Research about industry trends.
For example, you can use Google Trends to give you an idea about trends in various industries. For example, hoverboards and balancing scooters became popular in 2015. If you look at Google Trends, you will see that the demand for these toys has already waned after 2015. Therefore, you may not import hoverboards and balancing scooters anymore because there’s almost no demand.
2. Choose your niche.
In other words, who will be your target market be. Is it babies and toddlers, or grown-up toy collectors? Once you have chosen your target market, you can now be able to choose the kind of toys you will sell.
3. Consider what toys would sell.
After choosing your niche a.k.a. your target customers, it’s time to find the right toys you will sell. The question is whether these toys will sell and bring money to your business. That said, experts suggest choosing the “classics” – ones that won’t get outdated no matter the time and year we are in.
As much as possible, stick to the classics like toy balls, stuffed toys, toy cars, and dolls because there will always be someone who will buy those. On the other hand, you can take advantage of toys that are currently on-trend – say, kinetic sands. It may be profitable now, but it may decline in popularity over the months or years.
4. Find a reliable supplier.
Direct manufacturers are ideal suppliers if you want to get discounts. On the other hand, trading companies do charge more, but they allow smaller orders, unlike direct manufacturers. Choosing a supplier will depend on your business requirements and budget.
Chenghai, a district located in Guangdong province, is dubbed as the world’s toys capital. If you are planning to import toys, consider looking for toy suppliers in this area. Other areas you can check out suppliers from are in Yiwu (small toys and DIY craft toys), Yangzhou (plush and stuffed toys), and Yongjia in Zhejiang province (learning and playground toys).
Chenghai also holds an annual China Chenghai International Toys and Gift Fair or CCITF. It is one of the most highly-anticipated toy fairs in Mainland China. Other trade fairs featuring toy suppliers include the annual Canton Fair, Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair, and China Toy Expo in Shanghai.
5. Consider compliance and safety standards.
Most toys are catered to children. That is why overall safety should be greatly considered when importing toys from China. Likewise, imported toys should also pass compliance standards as set by the destination country.
In the US, imported toys should pass the ASTM F963 which includes physical testing, chemical, and flammability testing. Another certification required is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which includes testing for lead and phthalate content on imported products. In Europe, imported toys should have a CE mark and have to pass Toy Safety Directive and EN62115.
6. Be careful of importing copyrighted products.
Many imported toys in China are based on popular Western cartoon characters such as Disney, Marvel, and the like. More often than not, a lot of suppliers do not have the company’s authorization to sell products based on the latter’s original characters.
In other words, these products can be considered as design infringed. If you don’t want to have problems with customs, then it is best to avoid copyrighted products.
7. Choose the best shipment method.
In this case, sea shipment is the most economical option to ship imported toys. Toys can be shipped conveniently via sea even in large quantities because the total weight of toys is usually generally light.
Where to find China’s best toy manufacturers and suppliers
China is a huge country, and it has specific provinces or cities that specialize in specific manufacturing industries. For toys, you can check out these places in China where you can find reliable toys suppliers:
1. Chenghai (Guandong)
This is the ideal location where you can find toy manufacturers that allow orders in bulk. It is also said to be the largest toy manufacturer in the world.
2. Yiwu (Zhejiang)
This is where small toys and DIY toys are mostly made. You can also order your toys here if it’s not really the heart of your business.
If you prefer selling stuffed and plush toys, then you can search for suppliers in this area.
4. Yongjia (Zhejiang)
If you are looking for learning and playground toys for kids, you can check out suppliers in this Chinese province.