Who doesn’t love to play with toys? Whether young or old, toys are fun. But the industry itself leaves little room for entrepreneurs to enjoy toy franchise ownership opportunities. Either global conglomerates have gobbled up brands, or you’ll face unbelievable competition in this marketplace.

Toy franchises sound like a fun investment, but they may not be the best financial decision. Learn why and what’s a better option.

Toy Makers, Movers, and Shakers

Toys are big business—from Barbie and Legos to American Girl Dolls and the Build-A-Bear workshop there are big profits to be made. The U.S. market size for the total toy industry last year was about $38.2 billion, representing a 14.2% increase over 2020 with the bulk of profits coming from a few big brands like Lego, Hasbro and Mattel. And that’s the problem. Whether toy production or retail, there’s big competition with little room for new brands in the marketplace.

Toy creation and production requires a sophisticated market analysis of what’s hot and what’s not. Crazes, fads, and trends are huge in the toy industry depending on what buzz has been created with the latest Disney princess or electronic game.

The success in the business comes from differentiating yourself from the competition. There are some toy store franchises that have successfully separated themselves from the rest of the market. You may be familiar with brands like Learning Express Toys, HobbyTown, and Once Upon A Child. All three are presenting something distinctive in the retail marketspace. Learning Express focuses on educational toys. HobbyTown focuses on games, train sets, and models. And Once Upon A Child sells new and used toys, games and puzzles for kids at an affordable price point. They have franchise fees ranging from $20,000 to $35,000 with initial investments differing based on location.

The drawback for entrepreneurs looking to invest in toy store franchises is the intense competition from big name brands in the industry. To compete globally, you must have an effective ecommerce presence, plenty of brick-and-mortar locations, plus brand name recognition. Even big retail brands like Toy-R-Us and FAO Schwartz took a hit with store closures due to the economic crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers were able to find the puzzles, games, and toys they needed at big box stores like Target and Walmart, often cheaper than at FAO Schwartz or Toys-R-Us.

Another Retail Franchise Option

There are better retail franchise options that have affordable franchise fees, less competition, and better profit potential. Rather than a toy store franchise, why not consider a wildlife franchise like Wild Birds Unlimited.

Much like a unique toy franchise, Wild Birds Unlimited enjoys a niche market. We’re a leader in the wild bird feeding industry with more than 40 years in business and 350 franchise locations throughout North America.

The bird feeding and wildlife hobbyist industry is recession-resistant, making it a strong investment opportunity. Plus, the industry is seeing strong growth. More than 81 million people participate in feeding birds and other wildlife—a number that grew during the pandemic, and more than $5 billion is spent on birdseed and wildlife food.

At Wild Birds Unlimited, our concept has been a success because this is a people business. Although we also have a strong ecommerce presence, as a franchisee you interact with your customers—neighbors and friends right in your own community, and you become the go-to expert on everything wild bird related. We believe in building loyal customer relationships through personal service at the highest standard. Not only that, but your store will stock only the best, high-quality products that meet the approval of hobbyists and birds, alike.

Get Started with Wild Birds Unlimited

The benefits of investing in our franchise include you to having direct access to the long-term partnerships we’ve developed over the course of decades with suppliers and conservation specialists. Toys may be fun, but wild bird watching is a wonderful hobby, and your profit potential is greater with Wild Birds Unlimited. Average gross sales last year for stores open a full year were $784,782*.

Wild Birds Unlimited provides expert training and on-going support to set you up for success when you’re part of our flock. If you want to learn more about flying with us, get started by filling out the inquiry form on our website and downloading our free franchise report.

*Please refer to Item 19 of our FDD.