When Toys “R” Us announced plans to close all its US stores, some blamed Amazon while others (including Toys “R” Us itself) blamed millennials. As The Atlantic once pointed out, millennials loved visiting Toys “R” Us when we were kids, but as parents, we’d rather just order through our phones.
In its financial filings for 2017 Toys “R” Us blamed millennials for not having enough kids to support the brick and mortar stores, noting that its “revenues are dependent on the birth rates.” Here’s the thing though: According to Pew, there are more than 16 million millennial moms in America. That’s a lot of customers for Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us to appeal to. It just didn’t.
Now, Millennial parents and the retailers who get us stand to benefit from the collapse of Toys “R” Us. Turns out, shopping for toys and baby gear might actually be even easier without Toys “R” Us in the picture.
Amazon could expand brick and mortar
Bloomberg reports Amazon is considering buying some of the closing Toys “R” Us locations. Amazon’s already in the brick and mortar game since purchasing Whole Foods, and is noticing an increase in quick trips since installing Amazon lockers in some locations.
If Amazon does move into some former Toys “R” Us storefronts, parents might find that instead of waiting for a stock person to help you get that toy down and then waiting in line to pay, you might just use a code to open a locker, pick up your order and be quickly on your way to that birthday party.
Target’s got us covered
According to Credit Suisse analysts, 90% of Toys “R” Us locations and 96% of Babies “R” Us stores are within five miles of a Target, so parents aren’t going to have to go far to get their toy fix.
Plus, many parents already love Target for offering things that make our lives easier, like nursing rooms and drive-up order pick ups. According to the Chicago Tribune, the retailer plans to “continue to invest to create an even better Target” in the wake of the Toys “R” Us closures.
We don’t know how they could make it any better, but continued innovation sounds good to us. We may have loved trips to Toys “R” Us when we were kids, but this generation grew up to love a Target run.
A millennial-inspired plan to save Toys “R” Us
As forward-thinking retailers try to appeal to the customers Toys “R” Us didn’t, billionaire toy executive Isaac Larian is hoping crowdfunding can help him keep half the Toys “R” Us stores around.
According to the Associated Press, Larian (his company is best known for the Bratz dolls) and some other investors have already raised $200 million and hope to raise four times that amount via GoFundMe.
It’s a very millennial tactic, but it’s not likely to appeal to the generation Toys “R” Us blamed for its demise (the campaign has only raised $49,000 as of this writing).
For mamas who are scrambling to spend gift cards and are losing their Endless Earnings registry rewards, or who’ve had to recreate a Babies “R” Us registry elsewhere in the late stages of their pregnancy, donating to Larian’s cause might not be very appealing.
Even if the crowdfunding campaign is successful, not all the Toys “R” Us stores will be saved. It truly is the end of a retail era, a conclusion punctuated with the recent passing of 94-year old Toys “R” Us founder Charles Lazarus. He reinvented the way parents buy toys, and now, someone else will do the same for our generation.