Worldwide, the toy industry has known a slight decrease in the volume as well as in the sales. Experts believe that this year, there is trouble in toy-land. The same trend has been felt in Mauritius. For this current year, the value of imported toys amounts to Rs 139.2 million, as compared to last year, where the total reached Rs 215 million.
December is synonymous with toys, a specific month where toys are the stars and at the top of the buying and selling list. As years pass by, a noticeable factor is that this trend is changing constantly. In spite of it all, there are some toys that are still thriving and very popular, such as dolls, musical instruments, toys representing animals or non-human creatures or wheeled toys. For example, the value for imported wheeled toys is at Rs 9.3 m, for musical instruments it is at Rs 1.7 m, for dolls it reaches Rs 4.7 m and for toys representing animals, a staggering Rs 11.7 m. Moreover, China remains the first country with the most imported toys followed by France.
Why such a decrease?
According to Perry Chung Fat, director of Lotus D’Or, such a decrease is quite common in an election year. He states that it is very normal that the climate of business is a bit slow when there are general elections, as there remains much uncertainty. “Importers and buyers are hesitant to invest during these periods. That’s why there is a slowdown. This happens frequently. It will pick up in the coming year.”
Another importer of toys explain that the toy industry is a constant evolving industry where there are ups and downs. “This decrease has been experienced worldwide. There are various factors for this. One is the change in the demand. Nowadays, parents look for more technological and educative toys. So, there is a decrease in traditional toys. Another factor is the business climate worldwide, which has known a decrease as well. This has an impact on us.”
Number of toys seized
On the positive side, this year there has not been any toys seized by the MRA as compared to previous years. The most common type of seized products was toy guns with projectiles. In 2018, there were 72 cases where 2,526 toy guns with projectiles amounting to Rs 117,601 were seized. In 2017, the number of cases was 59 representing a value of Rs 43,603.
As per Consumer Protection (Control of Imports) Regulations 2017, toys known as yoyo water ball, toy motor cyclists’ helmets and “Toy pistols and guns with projectiles” are prohibited goods. Any person who imports prohibited toys shall commit an offence under Section 156(1) (b) of the Customs Act. The offenders are subjected to pay a penalty. If the quantity imported is less than 10 units, the penalty applicable under Section 156A of the Customs Act shall be a sum not exceeding Rs 100,000. If the quantity imported is more than 10 units, then the importer shall be liable to a fine of Rs 4,000 for value of goods not exceeding Rs 1,500 and if the value of the goods exceeds Rs 1,500, the person is liable to pay 3 times the amount of duty, excise duty and taxes on those goods or Rs 20,000.
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