Retailers are set for a busy festive season, with consumers expected to spend more than $50 billion dollars in the six weeks before Christmas, up 2.9% compared to 2017. Online retailers will provide a major boost to the industry, with Australia Post forecasting a 30% surge in online purchases this season. Unsurprisingly, toys are big-ticket items. According to the Australian Retailers Association, toy sales are expected to rise by 2.7% this Christmas. Online retailer, KidzInc says smart toys are becoming increasingly popular.
“A lot of manufacturers are developing toys that are smart and are also enabling our children to learn the tools that they need for the future in the STEM field, so science, technology, engineering, and maths,” explains Lubica Misevski, owner of KidzInc.
And it’s not just child’s play; almost half of today’s jobs are at risk of digital disruption. From next year, coding will be compulsory in primary schools to prepare students for the jobs of the future, with a strong push for more girls to pursue a career in the STEM field.
“There’s a gap between what boys and girls need for toys," says Lubica.
"Parents tend to give boys construction toys while girls tend to get dolls.
"So how do we prop up our girls to learn these STEM skills? Girls have got the ability, it’s just tapping into it and making it flourish.”
As a former Mathematician, Lubica spotted an opportunity in the educational toy market.
“Having the statistical background where I can see trends, it’s definitely been an advantage for myself to identify the trends in the market space and the emerging markets being the STEM field.”
“I did a lot of research when my daughter was born, finding the best tools on the market to help develop her mind.
"There’s a lot of research to understand how a child’s mind develops and how rapidly it grows.”
With KidzInc now in its fifth year, Lubica has opened a pop-up shop in Mosman.
“Predominately we are online, but I wanted to experience what it was like in a brick and mortar store," explains Lubica.
"To actually physically pick up a product is valuable too.”
Lubica now sells to schools and education providers around the country, and plans to expand on her collection to help children develop the skills they need for the future workforce.
“When I look at my daughter and she says I love maths, I get immensely proud," says Lubica.
"I’m really proud to be able to say I’ve exposed her to the best toys.
“That’s the way KidzInc started, what are the best toys for my kids?
"And how asking myself, how can I share these toys with others?"