A casualty of the “retail apocalypse” and then Covid, toy store powerhouse Toys ‘R’ Us shuttered the last of its brick-and-mortars in early 2021. Since then, the brand has shifted attention to experimenting with the “store within a store” model, which it trialed at a few select Macy’s department stores.

Now, the retailer is ready to begin setting up shop within all Macy’s across the country. What can we expect to see from the novel retail partnership as we head into the 2022 holiday shopping season?

As of a July survey from CivicScience, things are looking relatively positive for the Toys ‘R’ Us-Macy’s joint endeavor. Nearly a third of U.S. adults say they are at least somewhat likely to visit a Toys ‘R’ Us store located inside of a Macy’s this year (n=2,661).

That said, the downside is that intent is lower than numbers from an August 2021 survey, when 42% of the Gen Pop said they were at least somewhat likely to shop the toy stores inside of a Macy’s when available. Inflation, rising costs, and reduced non-essential spending could be impacting toy shopping plans

Current figures are higher when adjusting among toy buyers, since naturally, not everyone has a need or desire to purchase toys. Weeding out individuals who haven’t purchased any toys in the last year, results show that a total of 44% of recent toy shoppers are positive toward the new stores and are at least somewhat likely to shop there.

In a study earlier this year, CivicScience learned that people really loved Toys ‘R’ Us. More than half of U.S. adults responded favorably when asked about the toy store chain. Favorability numbers haven’t fluctuated and those good feels may pull returning shoppers in once again. Likely shoppers heavily index as past Toys ‘R’ Us enthusiasts – 85% of “very likely” shoppers and close to 70% of “somewhat likely” shoppers say they loved or liked Toys ‘R’ Us before the stores closed their doors.

Not to be overlooked, Macy’s favorability also has a lot to do with likelihood. Good news for Macy’s, more than half of those “somewhat likely” and more than 70% of those “very likely” to visit the new Toys ‘R’ Us stores say they also like or love shopping at Macy’s, whereas those unlikely are far less favorable to the department store. 

Who will be browsing the toy aisles this year?

If you think it’s just parents with kids in tow, think again. Parents, grandparents, and non-parents alike all share a nearly equal likelihood for visiting the stores. 

In fact, the survey data show a giant interest among Gen Z adults, who may be waxing nostalgic for the Toys ‘R’ Us shopping experiences that were part of their youth. Nostalgia toys or other kinds of items that appeal to this young crowd may find positive reception.

Among parents with children under 18, new parents of 3- to 5-year-olds, who may not have gotten the chance to shop for their kids at Toys ‘R’ Us prior to the closings, are overall the most likely to take advantage of the re-openings and visit the toy store within a store. Those with 6- to 11-year-olds are the most “very likely” to shop the stores.

And finally, really driving home the experiential appeal of the new Toys ‘R’ Us locations, the survey shows that people who do the majority of their toy shopping online are actually just as likely (if not more) as in-store toy shoppers to visit a Toys ‘R’ Us inside of Macy’s. Forty-six percent – nearly half – of online shoppers say they are interested, and 18% say they are “very likely.” This suggests that even heavy online shoppers can and will change habits, if the conditions are right.

All in all, the data suggest the partnership is an opportunity with a lot of potential. Perhaps for many, high brand affinity – as well as the mix of nostalgia, novelty of the re-openings, and a desire for tangible shopping experiences – may fuel foot traffic to the new Toys ‘R’ Us locations this year. With the holiday shopping season just a few months away, CivicScience will continue to stay on top of these and more emerging trends related to this exciting new development.