The sharing economy: children’s toys


Nowadays the electronical screen devices provide endless entertainment opportunities for children. Apple has a special ‘kids’ section in de App Store offering numerous different kinds of apps as games apps, educative apps, book reading apps etc. A survey conducted in 2014 already concluded that touch screens are the primary play activity followed by game consoles as shown in the figure below. It is hard for the traditional toys business to compete with the rapidly developing online kids’ entertainment industry (Michael Cohen Group, 2014).

Afbeelding1 childrenSource: (Michael Cohen Group, 2014)

Parents try to limit the screen-time per day of their children as they want to promote an active lifestyle as the consequences of frequent use of screen devices are severe. Physical health issues are one of the main concerns for parents as research shows that excessive screen time can lead to serious problems including obesity, higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes and increase abdominal fat (Nightingale et al. 2017, Suchert et al. 2016). Furthermore, on-screen activities cannot replace certain essential skill developments as for example hand-eye coordination and creativity.

One of the main reasons children are not playing as much with physical toys is that they lose interest overtime. Toys are expensive and the majority of households are not able to afford new toys on a regular basis (Pley, 2018). The company Pley provides the solution to the abovementioned issues. As the founder states:

“Being frustrated with finding the appropriate toys to my children as their interests change constantly, I realized there had to be a smarter way to play. Inspired by the sharing economy, we envisioned Pley.”

-Ranan Lachman, Founder of Pley

 

Business Model

Pley is a subscription based toy delivery service company based in the United States. Currently the company has over 300.000+ subscriptions. Pley provides two different services:

(1) Surprise box subscription

Afbeelding2 children.pngThe surprise box is available in different themes. The price for the boxes depend on subscription around $22/box. The boxes are delivered every 2 months.

(2) Toy Library subscription

Afbeelding3 children.pngThe toy library is a subscription based toy rental service. Depending on the subscription $12.99 for 1 credit/month and $29.99 for 3 credits/month the customer can choose from over 500+ toys in the toy library. The service applies the pick-enjoy-return&repeat method. This is theoretically the most interesting service of Pley, therefore the blog will focus on the Toy Library.

The toy library of Pley makes use of the concept of the sharing economy, more specific the collaborative consumption. Collaborative consumption can be defined as “the peertopeer based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services coordinated through communitybased online services” (Hamari et al., 2015).  The coordination of the toys is monitored by Pley, acting as a platform arranging the exchanges as shown in the figure below. Furthermore, there is the possibility to send old toys to Pley and receive a monetary value.

Afbeelding4 children

The success of Pley is explained by the fact that the company actively takes into consideration the needs of the customer and developed a platform that serves the needs of the customers. The customers want to (1) let their children play with physical toys in order to improve health and develop critical skills (2) let their children play with novel toys regularly and (3) not spend too much money on toys. The toy library of Pley conforms to all the wishes by engaging the customer in Pley’s subscription based toy sharing platform.

Efficiency criteria

The business model of Pley’s toy library is based on joint profitability of both the company and the customers. The customers benefit as they are able to receive and return toys regularly at a low rate, which would otherwise not have been possible as the alternative for novelty in toys is to buy new toys in the store at a high rate or let the children play on on-screen devices, both not desired. Pley benefits from the profits made from providing the subscription based service and from toys send to Pley they can use in the toy library, in the long term providing profit.

Furthermore, Pley meets the feasibility of required reallocations criteria. First, the polity and judiciary aspects are not a factor of concern for the business model as the activities are political independent and within the U.S law. Efficient social norms are carefully considered as the company is a Certified B Corporation and applies the buy-one-give-one model where for every sold toy, one toy is given to a child in need an underdeveloped area in the world (Pley, 2018).

Bibliograpy

  1. Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., & Ukkonen, A. (2015). The sharing economy: Why people participate in collaborative consumption. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
  2. Michael Cohen Group, Toys, Learning, & Play Summit. (2014) From: http://www.mcgrc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MCGRC_Digital-Kids-Presentation_pdf Assessed: 17-02-18
  3. Nightingale, C.M., Rudnicka, A.R., Donin, A.S., Sattar, N., Cook, D.G., Whincup, P.H., & Owen, C.G. (2017). Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 0:1-5.
  4. Pley, 2018. From https://www.pley.com/about. Assessed: 17-02-18
  5. Suchert, V., Hanewinkel, R., & Isensee, B. (2016). Screen time, weight status and the self-concept of physical attractiveness in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 48:11-17.

 

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