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Online purchases of toys and children’s items with serious risk are recalled

It is normal for us to see recalls of children’s items and playthings rise in January as countries catch up on the swell of hazardous products which flooded their markets over the festive season.

Last week, there were 11 notifications in this category, representing a third of Europe’s total (33) notifications for the week.

However, this time it feels a bit different. With most of Europe manoeuvring through different stages of lockdown, many consumers are procuring items to help support their children while they are being home-schooled and kept apart from friends and relatives.

High street shopping is a no-go for millions, as many non-essential retailers have been forced to close their doors, resulting in more consumers shopping online. Three of the 11 products listed were from online sellers, and while this appears relatively low, the likelihood of more notifications citing this in the description of the product recall is high.

In a report published by the Centre for Retail Research [1] it stated that the recession of 2020-21 reduced total retail spending because the pandemic resulted in consumers bringing forward the higher levels of online sales expected in 2021 (or 2025 in some cases) to 2020, however they expect online sales to dip in 2021 to a combined figure of £281.1 billion.

This projection was made in July 2020, a few months before many European countries were plunged into their second national lockdowns. As the pandemic continues to engulf countries across Europe, it is likely that online sales in 2021 will continue on the same upwards trajectory as 2020.

In 2020, 7 out of 10 internet users made online purchases. Overall, the share of online buying among internet users is growing. A EuroStats [2] report said that when considering all individuals aged 16-74 in the EU with access to the internet, the share of online shoppers in that group equalled 64%, with Denmark having the highest share (89%) and Bulgaria the lowest (31%).

Of all the recalls cited this week, Denmark submitted one which was for a product that was purchased online. Sweden and The Netherlands also submitted one apiece. Bulgaria submitted zero.

It is our view that we will see more recall notifications relating to products sold online in all consumer categories, including toys and these will most likely come from the European countries we have outlined above. The important thing for retailers who have diversified their offering to accommodate online buying trends is that they pay close attention to their supply chain and ensure that any product that bares their brand must live up to the standards they promise customers - or it could result in a recall.

That said, a recall can be managed well and result in a positive experience for customers, but only if you have put processes in place to execute it when it arises – and this is where we can help you. Recalls are our business so get in touch with us so that we can help you manage yours.

Sources:

[1] https://www.retailresearch.org/online-retail.html

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/pdfscache/46776.pdf

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