Trend Hunter: How “Business Disruptors” are Transforming Consumer Categories

June 28, 2019 |’s latest free monthly report for Toy Association members looks at emerging brands and startups that are revolutionizing consumer categories with new business models and creative offerings.

“Brands that offer consumers authentic experiences and personalized offerings, that are also cost-effective, are standing out,” said Anne McConnell, senior director of market research & data strategy at The Toy Association. “The ideas presented in the latest Trend Hunter report will inspire toy companies to experiment with new and exciting ways of creating and promoting brands and products in order to appeal to today’s parents and youth.”

The “Business Disruptor” report features the following topics, among many others:

  • Everyday Rental –  Consumers are increasingly thoughtful about their purchases, leading many companies to offer rental options. “STEMtrunk” is a subscription-based toy rental service providing curated STEM toys at an affordable cost. The toys include LEGOs, drones, robots, DIY computer kits, and more.
  • On-Demand Expertise – Apps and digital platforms that offer one-on-one consultations highlight consumers’ desire for advice and recommendations specific to their needs, that are still convenient and cost-effective. The YouCam Makeup Beauty Advisor service gives app users the chance to connect with a beauty expert via real-time video chat.
  • AI Consumption – The integration of artificial intelligence into the food and beverage space speaks to the mainstream use and acceptance for smart and automated solutions in consumers’ day-to-day rituals.  5thru is reshaping the drive-thru experience with AI-driven technology gives drive-thrus the ability to use customer profiles and information collected by artificial intelligence so that servers can provide personalized recommendations.
  • Incorporated Incubator – Businesses are creating innovation hubs to support emerging startups while also using them as a source for new developments for their own portfolio. Through the “IKEA Bootcamp,” selected startups will be granted $22,400, free accommodation, and the chance to spend three months in Sweden with access to the furniture brand’s prototyping shop and test lab. Through the initiative, IKEA aims to push innovation across food, technology, customer experience, design, sustainability, manufacturing, as well as the supply chain and analytics.
  • Curated E-Commerce – Digital retailers are incorporating personalized recommendations to guide the consumer shopping experience. Avon launched a mobile and e-interactive shoppable brochure that will allow its sales representatives to create personalized shopping carts for consumers using either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. On the first day of its launch, the new platform reportedly received 500,000 visits from consumers across 12 countries.

This report is the latest in a series from Trend Hunter offering in-depth perspectives and trends in various areas related to the toy industry and beyond youth markets to help spark unique ideas. For additional relevant trends, toy companies may click on the report’s consumer insights examples, scroll down, and click the images for further information.

Members are encouraged to send topic suggestions for future trend reports to The Toy Association’s Anne McConnell. has accumulated nearly 3 billion views from more than 100 million visitors. The data research company helps clients “Dive Deeper,” “Work Smarter,” and “Save Effort” in order to increase the overall success of their companies and brands.