Don’t Promise Your Kids a Toy this Xmas

I’m still reading through books on influence and persuasion, and in particular, how companies sucker consumers into buying their latest products. Here’s a tip I learned that I’d like to share with parents who might soon be asking what their children want for Christmas.

Christmas sales and the after-shock

The run up to Christmas is booming business for toy stores, but what happens in the couple of months after they make their record profits? January and February should be the most dismal time of the year for toy stores, right?

Wrong. Here’s the scam:

In the weeks before Christmas, toy stores and manufacturers ramp up their advertising, enticing children to beg their parents for the latest and greatest wonder toy. Parents usually give in and promise their children they’ll buy them that toy for Christmas.

However, toy stores want to maximize profits so they deliberately “run out of stock” of the most wanted items. Instead, they order extra toys of a similar value so parents have no choice but to buy the alternative toys as Christmas presents.

Then, during January and February, they focus their advertising campaigns on the previously out of stock toy, so that the children are once again begging for that toy that their parents promised them for Christmas!

So be warned. Don’t make any promises!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

7 thoughts on “Don’t Promise Your Kids a Toy this Xmas

  1. BOOOOO that’s nasty – but of course it’s deliberate I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me… or the Simpsons for that matter, there’s got to be an episode in that – Lisa could expose the pesky practice and it could make no difference at all… hehe

  2. Hang on Nick. I remember someone who regularly did that when he was a boy. The only difference being he did not always get what he asked for. Lets hope Rikuto doesn’t take after you in that way

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