PLAYMOBIL toys are synonymous with creative play, PLAYMOBIL toys are loved among children and also have the highest standards of quality and safety. Parents place their trust in the PLAYMOBIL brand for its expertise in providing high–quality products under the "Made in Europe" label.
For years, the toy market has been under enormous pricing pressure. However, increased costs of doing business should not affect quality or safety, especially in products for children. PLAYMOBIL proprietor Horst Brandstätter and his team make this issue their top priority, taking product safety into account through product development into manufacturing.
PLAYMOBIL is proud to finance an in-house development department with more than 60 designers, molders and crafters in addition to around 30 construction specialists and a mold-making staff of approximately 150 workers. This adds up to around 240 people who, long before production begins, are working to ensure quality and safety. The wealth of experience this team has gathered in the course of more than 30 years is of immense value and is unmatched in the toy industry. Safe, high-quality PLAYMOBIL toys are thus the result of a careful, multiple-stage process.
Development and Design
Producing safe, high-quality toys begins long before products are manufactured. The conception and development of new items, from the first idea to the market launch, can take up to three years. During the development process, long-standing staff members who are closely involved with the PLAYMOBIL brand take into consideration the play value, as well as ease of use and age-based design, all while eliminating possible safety hazards. The raw plastic material for each respective function is carefully chosen according to its quality and durability.
Testing production materials
The best prerequisite for producing safe and premium-quality goods is the careful selection of suppliers and the inspection of all production materials being used, including paint, before they are applied in production. These quality and safety tests are carried out by the LGA, a recognised independent institution, in accordance with the European and American safety guidelines.
Tests for quality and safety
Articles that have gone into production are also tested and checked in the LGA's laboratories according to American and European toy safety standards. Since 2001, all PLAYMOBIL products have been marked with the LGA's test seal. Numerous awards for its products attest to the PLAYMOBIL team’s consistent pursuit of quality, safety and educational play value.
Production ’in our own way’
The decisive advantage of PLAYMOBIL is its state-of-the-art production, storage and shipping facilities in Germany and its production plants in Malta, Spain and the Czech Republic. Company Proprietor Horst Brandstätter professes loyalty to their location: “Outstanding quality can only be obtained when the production is happening under one’s own supervision, with people who have developed an understanding of the market over a long period of time and have learned to produce the highest quality.” In order to remain competitive, the production plants - with those in Germany leading the way - have been made fit for the future, at a cost of over 150 million Euros. Just last year the PLAYMOBIL plant in the Franconian town of Dietenhofen was awarded the title of “Selected Location 2007" in the location initiative "Germany – Country of Ideas."
Less than 5 percent of the PLAYMOBIL product line is obtained from longstanding, ICTI-certified affiliated producers in China. This is predominantly the case with electronic parts and articles requiring a high degree of manual labour. Of course, these products are put through the same safety and quality tests as the entire product line.
Playmobil fulfilled its sales prognosis and precisely landed at a growth rate of 5 percent in the financial crisis year of 2009 – in the black both domestically and abroad – PLAYMOBIL is for the first time number 2 in the German toy market – geobra Brandstätter group sales reached € 518 million.
Zirndorf, January 27, 2010 – With the tenth year of growth in a row, geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG, Germany's largest toy manufacturer, has continued its successful development. The strategic goal of reaching a positive balance in the middle single digits with the premium PLAYMOBIL brand, nationally and internationally, has been reached. PLAYMOBIL achieved 5 percent higher turnover worldwide, while group sales from the traditional family company exceeded half a billion for the first time with a turnover of € 518 million.
PLAYMOBIL Development in Germany
The most important criteria in purchasing decisions for toys during the financial crisis year 2009 were quality and long-life playtime value. This made PLAYMOBIL, as a premium toy with proven quality, the top choice. The proof came in the form of four PLAYMOBIL products being placed in the Eurotoys 2009 Top Ten ranking for the traditional toy market in Germany.
PLAYMOBIL achieved a 2% increase in sales to German retailers. The growth in turnover at the consumer level even reached 3.2 percent, according to Eurotoys. In light of the general economic conditions with a decreased gross domestic product and the insolvency of a few of PLAYMOBIL’s decisive key customers, for example Karstadt/Quelle, the achieved result is especially impressive. Another positive influence on this development was the numerous renown awards received for PLAYMOBIL themes. The new item “Furnished School Building” was awarded the coveted "The Golden Rocking Horse” from the parenting magazine “Familie&Co” and was chosen by toy retailers for the "TOP 10 Toy 2009".
With the aforementioned 3.2% rise in sales to consumers, PLAYMOBIL reached a market share of 8.4% last year. For Eurotoys, this meant second place for the first time in the ranking of the top 50 manufacturers in the traditional toy market 2008/2009, after Lego and before Mattel.
Managing Director Andrea Schauer was pleased: “The customers have rewarded our efforts towards the highest quality, safety and maximum playtime value. The new PLAYMOBIL items for 2009 were at the top of children’s wish lists, and we naturally hope that the same will be true for the 99 new play ideas that we are presenting for 2010."
Since their market launch in 1974, about 2.3 billion PLAYMOBIL figures have found homes in children’s rooms all over the world. Worldwide PLAYMOBIL sales, including the domestic market, increased by around 5% and reached € 474 million in 2009. The largest portion of sales from abroad – a further 68% of total sales - came from the twelve distribution subsidiaries. The development in individual international markets was different from country to country, however, based on pressures from the worldwide financial and economic crisis.
PLAYMOBIL France remains by far the top-selling distribution subsidiary. Growth in the 2-digit percent range was achieved in France also in 2009. Since 2000, the figures for sales to French retailers have tripled. Direct sales to consumers have also progressed very positively. The market share was increased to 7 percent. In doing so PLAYMOBIL once again became the number 1 toy brand in the traditional toy market in France..
PLAYMOBIL Benelux, responsible for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, recorded a one-digit decrease in sales for the first time since the mid-90s, due to the hesitant dispositions in Dutch retail. Belgium and Luxemburg ended the year positively.
PLAYMOBIL Ibérica posted a decrease in sales last year, despite continuous growth in sales since 2004. This is especially due to the dark clouds over the economic landscape in Spain (e.g. an unemployment rate of over 19%).
PLAYMOBIL UK had an outstanding year. There was a significant 2-digit increase in sales. Once again, many new major customers were gained. Due to the insolvency of Woolworth's in 2008, several retailers expanded their toy product range in 2009, and PLAYMOBIL was able to take advantage of these opportunities.
PLAYMOBIL Swiss, , our distribution subsidiary in Switzerland, remained steady at the previous year’s sales level.
PLAYMOBIL Austria struggled with the insolvencies of many large Austrian retailers. This resulted in a small decrease of 5 % from the previous year.
PLAYMOBIL Hellas enjoyed growth in the mid single digits. Since 2000, sales in Greece have more than quadrupled. Toys, and especially PLAYMOBIL, have been selling especially well in Greece despite the extremely grim economic situation.
PLAYMOBIL Italia again achieved a double-digit increase in sales – a confirmation of the marketing strategy. Double-digit growth is also expected for PLAYMOBIL in Italy in the coming years. The cooperation with supermarkets and hypermarkets, in particular, should be further strengthened.
PLAYMOBIL USA experienced double-digit growth in sales. A high double-digit increase in sales was achieved with the largest customer, and in addition to this, several chains were acquired as new customers.
PLAYMOBIL Canada was able to increase sales for the sixth year in a row, this year even into the double digits. In 2010, the cooperation with mass-market customers should be pushed further. This will include moving the distribution subsidiary to a larger building.
PLAYMOBIL Mexicana again achieved sales growth in the double digits for 2009. Though still at a low level, the continuously positive development of this subsidiary is especially gratifying.
PLAYMOBIL Nordic with Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, has coped very well with its second year of independent direction (previously marketed via distributors). A clear double-digit increase in sales was achieved. The increase in sales in Norway was especially high. Numerous new customers were acquired in all Scandinavian countries.
Distribution in the Far East and Eastern Europe continues to be satisfactory, albeit at a somewhat low level. The focus was always on a long-term perspective from the very beginning.
Andrea Schauer, Managing Director of R&D and Sales & Marketing, sees the key international marketing strategy of PLAYMOBIL in the coming years under the term “Differentiation”:
1. Comparable national markets are to be defined, which will be developed with a tailored sales & marketing concept according to the level of distribution involved.
2. New products are to be adapted even more to the real needs and lives of boys and girls of different ages than they have been to date.
“The fact is that certain distribution factors call for particular sales and marketing concepts. In light of this fact, we will be exploiting more marketing potential by approaching markets individually. In a second phase, the product range will be tailored to focus on the needs of children within specific age groups. The life and everyday experiences of a five-year old and a nine-year old boy differ so greatly that the choice of themes and the development of new items must systematically take account of this. The new 2010 Top Agents playtime world is already putting this into practice successfully.”
In 2010, PLAYMOBIL is continuing its tried-and-tested marketing strategy with various target-group oriented advertising activities. The product brochure is top priority. A total of about 15 million copies are published annually in 16 different languages. Packed with detailed playtime scenery and informative product descriptions, it is our primary advertising medium and is distributed within our sales regions worldwide. Our secondary marketing tool is attention-grabbing advertising on children’s television, which we use to launch special offers and new items onto the market and to draw additional attention to our gift items during the Christmas period. Further measures include the action-packed play and activity tours throughout the whole of Germany, which enjoy great popularity among children, diverse PR projects and our highly successful (and well used) Internet presence with attractive online games. Following the huge success of the first Information CD-ROMs, this concept will be used as the driving force behind the Top Agents action theme this year.
Rather than block-budgeting our diverse advertising portfolio of child-relevant media and diverse sales promotion material, the budget for specific areas requiring action will be raised by approximately 5% over last year’s budget.
PLAYMOBIL – Made in Europe
PLAYMOBIL is a premium, „Made in Europe“ toy brand. The year 2009 showed how important safety and quality are, especially when it comes to purchase decisions during the current crisis. In times of limited shopping budgets people look for long-lasting toys with high play value. PLAYMOBIL provides just that. The consistent and intensive investments made during the last few years in logistics and production for the four production sites in Europe are, just as significantly, paying off in that respect.
The site in Dietenhofen (Northern Bavaria) is Germany’s largest and most high-performance production and shipping facility for toys. This site covers approximately 60 percent of PLAYMOBIL’s production volume. This includes the daily production of approximately 7 million components in more than 400 injection-moulding machines. Last year, approximately 45 million packages were shipped as part of the company's worldwide shipping program. The 5-shift system, which has been used in the injection moulding and printing processes since 2007, has proven its worth and, since the available production capacities are used with a high degree of efficiency, it also contributes to the security of the production site.
PLAYMOBIL was able to meet the worldwide increase in demand last year. Availability was possible right up to the last minute - despite low stock levels in the warehouse and a stock reduction at the end of the year. In summary, it can therefore be said that 2009 was an ideal year from a production point of view.
The state-of-the-art production facility in MaltaMalta is of outstanding significance for the production network. PLAYMOBIL Malta is the exclusive producer for the PLAYMOBIL figures, which are found in almost every package sold.
This facility is also responsible for all products in the 1.2.3 range, which places the highest requirements on toy safety in all stages of its in-house production. Small parts – especially parts of figures – are moulded, printed and assembled with a very high degree of automation in a 38,000 m² production space. PLAYMOBIL Malta plans and produces a total of 9,000 different semi-finished and finished products.
The 7,000m² assembly facility in Cheb (Czech Republic) is fully integrated into the company’s global supply chain. In 2009, around 200 employees at this facility worked continuously at full capacity, producing lucky dip bags and components for final production in Dietenhofen, as well as large production runs of packaging-intensive finished products such as the PLAYMOBIL Advent Calendars, the number one toy advent calendar.
A few select products were also produced, assembled and packaged at the production facility in Spain.
The PLAYMOBIL-FunPark in Zirndorf, featuring life size PLAYMOBIL play themes, has become a popular destination for family excursions – both from the region itself and from all over Germany - all year round. The leisure park’s unique concept focuses on “playtime exercise” and on “activity”, and not on standing in queues. A 6% rise in visitor numbers last year is a proof to the fact that this concept is fun and is popular with children.
2010 sees the PLAYMOBIL Fun Park celebrating its 10th birthday with spectacular “Knights” theme activities centred around the newly decorated Lion Knights' Empire Castle. In addition, a completely new dinosaur adventure park, complete with a themed quiz, will also supplement the range of activities. The last weekend in March will see the start to the outdoor season at the Fun Park. A range of super events throughout the whole year, and especially in May – PLAYMOBIL’s birthday month – are all the more reason to visit the PLAYMOBIL Fun Park. Following their successful premier in 2009, the Beer Garden and Action Park – complete with boules and summer bowling – will once again be a relaxing gathering place for people of all ages who love outdoor fun.
Group Earnings and Employees
The Brandstätter Group’s total sales were up on those of 2008 by a solid 4.5% from € 496 million to € 518 million, with the group thus reaching over a half a billion for the first time.
A total of 3,060 employees (the workforce reaching a total of over 3,000 for the first time) contributed to this pleasing result worldwide. In Germany, the 2009 payroll comprised a total of 1,703 employees (2008: 1,628).
Sole owner Horst Brandstätter has achieved his tenth record year in a row with the successful strategic positioning of the company, and his investment in the modernisation and expansion of the production facilities. In addition to an investment of € 22 million for injection moulds, a further investment of € 30 million is planned for the Dietenhofen and Malta production facilities. A total investment of € 56 millionto strengthen both the PLAYMOBIL and LECHUZA brands is planned.
Brandstätter, the company boss summarises:
“2009 was another growth year for the company. We are grateful for this. It reaffirms to us that we are on the right course. We continue to commit ourselves to maintaining the highest quality, “Made in Europe”. That’s why we are strengthening our facilities in Dietenhofen and Malta by investing in machines and processes."
The marvelous Airport adventure is another award-winning theme from PLAYMOBIL®. Introduced in 2002, it quickly became a favorite with children. With unique features like a working baggage carousel, movable elevator and detachable cabin roof, children can enjoy hours of creative playtime. The Airport line received much acclaim during its debut. The Airplane was honored with awards from Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Parents magazine. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio also awarded the Boarding Gate with Tower its highest honor – The Platinum Award. In addition, FamilyFun magazine, Dr. Toy and Parents magazine recognized the Boarding Gate with Tower with awards in 2002 for its exceptional play value. The Toy Industry Association also nominated the Airport theme for a 2002 T.O.T.Y (Toy Of The Year) Award.
Award-winning toys from PLAYMOBIL® continue to enrich the lives of children by encouraging them to be active in their own play. PLAYMOBIL® is committed to developing one-of-a-kind themes that inspire imaginative play and that is the magic behind PLAYMOBIL®. www.drtoy.com
3186 Boarding Gate with Tower
Family Fun magazine: Finalist Toy of the Year Awards, 2002.
Dr. Toy:10 Best Active Products of 2002.
Parents magazine: Best Toy of the Year, 2002.
The Boarding Gate with Tower has been awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s highest honor, the Platinum Award.The Boarding Gate with Tower was honored for its creative play value by Parents magazine, Dr. Toy, and Family Fun magazine.
Parents magazine’s: Best Toy of the Year, 2002.
The fabulous Jet Airliner was recognized with awards from the Oppenheim Toy Porfolio and Parents magazine.