DAEJEON, Aug. 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Watching a grown man or woman playing with toys still isn’t a common sight, but if recent trends continue, it might soon well be.
The so-called ‘kidult’ (kid + adult) market is rapidly expanding in Korea. With a current value of 700 billion won ($610 million), the market is expected to grow by an annual average of 20 percent for the foreseeable future. And everyone wants a piece of it.
According to the Korea Industrial Property Office (KIPO), the number of trademarks related to remote controlled toys (i.e. drones) and action figures has steadily increased in recent years. Among all toy trademarks registered by the office, the share related to RC toys and action figures accounted for 17.5 percent in 2013, 19.9 percent in 2014, and 30.2 percent in 2015. As of July 2016, these types of toys now represent 38.8 percent of all toy trademarks.
The same applies for the number of trademark applications, which increased from 416 in 2013, to 438 (2014), 719 (2015), and 605 (as of July 2016), with the number expected to surpass 1,000 by the end of the year.
Big-name companies, even those with no experience in toy manufacturing, are joining the fray.
Blizzard Entertainment, best known for computer strategy games StarCraft and Warcraft, recently filed for trademarks for action figures of the characters from its latest game, Overwatch. The first-person shooter videogame currently leads the play-hour share at ‘PC bangs’, gaming centers where customers play multiplayer computer games for an hourly fee.
Action camera manufacturer GoPro filed a trademark for Karma, a civilian remote-controlled drone scheduled for release in October, while Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba also registered collectible toy figures with the KIPO.
“Korea’s low birthrate may have lowered the number of toy consumers who are children,” said a KIPO official. “But with the recent kidult boom in the Korean toy market, more companies are expected to change their business strategies to target newly-emerging consumers.”
“The rising number of trademark applications in the respective sectors indicates that the industry has a lucrative future.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)