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DHX Brands introduces First Steppers

New sub-category is for the younger end of the preschool market, six months to 2½ years.

DHX Brands has introduced its new First Steppers initiative – a new expert-endorsed sub-category targeting the younger end of the preschool sector.

The company created First Steppers to provide a clearer definition of the six months to 2½ years age range and, in doing so, offer guidance and unlock fresh opportunities for licensees, retailers and consumers.

The company’s Teletubbies, In the Night Garden and Twirlywoos brands are all aimed at the younger end of preschool.

DHX Brands enlisted the help of leading child development and play expert Dr Amanda Gummer from Fundamentally Children, who undertook both qualitative and quantitative research with parents of ‘First Stepper’ children.

The research findings reinforced DHX Brands’ belief that there is a bigger retail opportunity at the younger end of preschool.

Dr Amanda Gummer, Fundamentally Children, said: “Children develop rapidly through the first months and years of life. Creating a ‘First Steppers’ framework helps everyone understand the important developmental milestones that are achieved typically between the ages of 6 and 30 months, so they are able to make developmentally engaging products, and support parents in what is a critical time in any family’s life.”

The research also discovered that parents – especially first-time parents with children in the First Steppers demographic – can become confused by the age appropriateness of products within the broad traditional preschool categories, often leading to fewer purchases.

This provides the opportunity for licensees to create more age-appropriate products and for retailers to meet the needs of parents through a more tailored approach to in-store merchandising and consumer communication across all categories.

Peter Byrne, evp at DHX Brands, added: “The ‘First Steppers’ initiative represents a child’s first meaningful relationship with character brands and our aim is to provide better clarity of this very specific core demographic for licensees, retailers and consumers.

“There is a clear opportunity to create a more targeted offering for this audience and genuinely help make parents’ lives easier.”

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