Amazon is taking a page from the recently shuttered Toys“R”Us chain. Looking to fill the void left by the toy chain, the online giant will be publishing a physical toy catalog for the holiday season.
Unnamed sources say the printed guide will be mailed to millions of U.S. households and handed out at Whole Foods Market locations.
Paper catalogs are a long-standing holiday tradition in the United States, going back to the Sears Roebuck catalog and later the J.C. Penny catalog. Both of those were eclipsed by the rise of the Toys“R”Us catalog, which for years was the defacto wish book for kids during the holiday season. Physical catalogs are a still a big part of holiday shopping planning – kids can see the toys and circle the things they want. Walmart and Target both print and mail catalogs to their customers.
The move appears to be a part of Amazon’s strategy to incorporate retailer tools into its sales arsenal. Rumors of Amazon wanting to buy some of the physical locations circulated last year.
Toys“R”Us generated $6.5 billion in U.S. sales last year, so other retailers are scrambling to make up that gap. For example, Party City is opening 50 pop-up toy shops for the Christmas holidays.
Other retailers will absorb the gap left by the Toys R Us exit, but it could take up to 2 years – and they won’t fully absorb the gap because Toys“R”Us had many more specific toys, because of the ability to devote almost 100 percent of shelf space to one category.
Amazon is the third largest toy seller behind Target and Walmart at number one but is growing their market share faster than both competitors. Walmart took the top spot almost two decades ago.