The kids featured in classic Toys “R” Us commercials did not want to grow up. They joyfully protested against maturing because they preferred to remain the same.
However, news broke that, whether they wanted it or not, change is coming to Toys “R” Us, as the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy due to a heavy debt load ($5 billion) and the rise of online shopping.
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Recent data from YouGov BrandIndex registers a sharp decline in consumer perception of the brand following the announcement.
A look at the toy store’s Buzz score, which asks a nationally representative sample of US adults aged 18+ if they’ve heard anything positive or negative about the brand in the September 2017 – whether through news, advertising, or word of mouth – shows that while Toys “R” Us began the year with a 12, it has since declined to a 3.
While the aforementioned debt load and prevalence of e-commerce have likely contributed to the brick-and-mortar retailer’s current woes, another argument floating around the internet is that Toys “R” Us’s bankruptcy is also partially due to the fact that kids these days are not playing with toy cars and dolls as much as they used to.
Instead, their attention is spent on tablets and smartphones, screens in front of more screens.
Additional data from YouGov suggests there might be something to the theory.
When asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement, “without TV, parenting would be impossible,” 27% of millennial parents with children under the age of 18 agreed, compared to 21% of parents aged 35-49 and 15% of those aged 50-64.
This hints at a generational difference in attitudes towards children and screen-time.