Funskool ties up with international brands to expand product portfolio

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on December 26, 2019 Published on December 26, 2019

John Baby, CEO, Funskool India Ltd (file photo)   -  Bijoy Ghosh

We are focussing on exports, says CEO John Baby

India’s leading toy manufacturer Funskool is going the whole hog to expand its product portfolio. Despite a slowdown in domestic demand and massive influx of Chinese toys, the homegrown toy maker is signing up with international brands for distribution in India.

As part of its Christmas and New Year 2020 offering, Funskool has introduced Japan’s Sylvanian Families, interactive and educational toys from US-based VTech, and sustainably-made wooden infant and preschool toys from Thailand-based Plan Toys, that offers toys that are uniquely made for the development of children with special needs.

“We have brought in three big brands for the current year. There is a growing change in people's mindset towards wooden toys and eco-friendly products,” said John Baby, CEO, Funskool (India).

Funskool’s export push

However, he also acknowledged that the ubiquitous slowdown which has affected various industries has not spared the toy industry as well. “Market is pretty bad, and we estimate about 20-30 per cent de-growth in the toy industry. We are also affected in the domestic market, but our exports are growing pretty fast, so overall we may retain last year’s business,” Baby said.

The company is expecting to close this year with a turnover of ₹225 crore, out of which over ₹90 crore will come from exports.

In March this year, Funskool opened its second manufacturing unit in Ranipet to increase the share of its export business to 50 per cent by 2021. The company already has a manufacturing unit in Goa.

Noting that there is no slowdown in the Europe, and the toy market in the US is estimated to grow by 4 per cent, Baby said, “Currently, we are focussing on exports. Our two units (in Ranipet) are working only on exports, so we are confident of achieving 50 per cent revenue from exports by 2021.”

Funskool ships out its goods to the US, Africa, Europe and the Gulf countries.

The MRF Group-owned company also sells a whole range of international toys from Hasbro, Leap Frog, Tomy, Ravensburger, Siku, Hornby etc. The store also houses licensed products from Disney, Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon, in addition to the full range of Funskool’s own brands like Giggles, Handycrafts, Play & Learn, which are manufactured from its plants in Goa and Ranipet.

Domestic demand

Baby said that revival in domestic demand depends on the economy. “People do not have money, they don’t go out and shopping ..footfalls in the market have been coming down sharply.”

He also said that massive influx of cheaper toys from China is hurting the domestic toy industry. “According to estimates, 80 percent of toys sold in India are imported products. Government has announced its plans to increase the import duty, including for toys, to discourage imports,” he added.

Published on December 26, 2019
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