PRESS RELEASE Survey results: Online toy stores less sexist this Christmas

30 November 2014

For Immediate Release

Retailers are dropping ’Girls’ and ’Boys’ toy categories from their websites, according to a new survey by campaign group Let Toys Be Toys.

Household names such as Tesco, Asda, Boots, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Hamley’s, Ocado and Selfridges have dropped gendered toy navigation or filters since the Let Toys Be Toys campaign began, with the survey showing a 46% drop in the proportion of stores using gender to categorise toys today, compared with when the campaign formed two years ago.

Says Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, Jess Day, “At Let Toys Be Toys we believe that there is no such thing as a ‘girls’ toy’ or a ‘boys’ toy’. Dividing toys up by gender limits what’s on offer to children, restricting their play and their chances to learn and develop. We’ve seen substantial changes on the high street since we started campaigning, with major stores such as Debenhams and M&S dropping ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ signage, and we’re really happy to see this positive shift reflected on the web. What we’re asking stores to do is simple – just say what it is, not who it is supposed to be for.”

Barbara Burke, present-buyer to four young grandchildren says, “I often buy presents for my grandchildren online, and that’s easiest when toys are arranged by type. For example, two of my grandchildren (a girl and a boy) currently enjoy playing with small plastic people – whether that’s pirates, fairies, knights etc. If a website is divided into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ I have to check both sections, so I tend not to bother and find a more helpful website.”

Download the full survey report: Boys’ Toys, Girl’s Toys or Toys for Children? How are retailers presenting toys online in 2014?

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NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Survey findings & methodology

  • Just over half the sites reviewed showcase toys without using any gender signposting.
  • The proportion offering ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ options has dropped by 46% since the campaign launched in 2012.
  • Household names such as Tesco, Asda, Boots, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Hamley’s, Ocado and Selfridges have dropped gendered navigation or filters during this time.

The survey looked at 54 websites that sell toys and/or children’s books. Sites were visited between 1 and 21 November 2014 by at least two reviewers.

2. Let Toys Be Toys is a grassroots campaign group established in November 2012. The campaign believes both boys and girls benefit from a range of play experiences, and should not be restricted by marketing which tells them which toys and activities are for boys or girls. Let Toys Be Toys is run and organised wholly by volunteers.

See www.79.170.40.168/lettoysbetoys.org.uk for more information.

3. For interview requests or queries, please contact us:
Email: lettoysbetoys@gmail.com

Further contacts

Website: www.79.170.40.168/lettoysbetoys.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lettoysbetoys
Twitter: @lettoysbetoys
Change.org petition: http://goo.gl/N423C

4. Over 12,000 people have signed the Let Toys Be Toys petition on change.org, asking retailers in the UK and Ireland to remove gender labels and organise toys by genre not gender, and the campaign has over 25,000 likes/followers on social media.
Stores which have changed in-store signage (or committed to do so) following contact from the campaign:

  • Toys R Us (phasing out gendered store signage.)
  • The Entertainer (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signage from stores)
  • Fenwick (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signage from stores)
  • Debenhams (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signage from stores)
  • Boots (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signage from stores)
  • TK Maxx (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signage from stores)
  • Hobbycraft (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signage from stores)
  • Tesco (agreed to remove ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signs and are in the process of doing this)
  • Sainsbury (has removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signs)
  • Marks and Spencer (has updated its toy ranges to remove reference to gender on packaging)
  • Next (has updated its toy ranges to remove reference to gender from packaging)
  • Wilkinson (has updated its shop signage and toy ranges to remove reference to gender)

5. The Let Toys Be Toys campaign is encouraging shoppers to break out of the stereotyped pink and blue boxes of toy marketing and #shopoutsidethebox by:

  • Sharing our #shopoutsidethebox image – (high res images available on request)
  • Supporting retailers which don’t promote stereotypes – visit our Toymark directory.
  • Seeking out alternatives – check out our Christmas gift guides.
  • Talking to friends and family about why stereotypes matter.