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TABLETS: VTECH Keeping tabs


Andrew Welch, senior brand manager at VTech tells Billy Langsworthy about what’s next for InnoTab and, with more and more companies joining the children’s tablet sector, why only recognisable brands will last


How was 2013 for VTech? It’s been a very good year. As a business, we’ve moved up to the position of number four manufacturer in the toy market and InnoTab is a key part of our business. We’re ending in a very


strong position for the company and with InnoTab. The tablet market is becoming increasingly competitive with more companies developing products into the market. InnoTab is in its third year


and children are getting older younger. Children spend time with their parents and see their parents using mobile phones and tablets and so kids now want that.


What does 2014 have in store for VTech? InnoTab 3S is our latest tablet in the InnoTab range and it’s performed fantastically well. During 2014, we’re


working hard to create more new software and apps for InnoTab. We’ve seen a strong


increase in software sales, over 50 per cent. This shows there is a big appetite for software and apps for InnoTab. That’s an area of the business we’re look at continuing to grow and develop. As well as new software launches, we are looking at the next generation of InnoTab and making sure our tablet is packed with the latest technology that is suitable for children. We’re market leaders in looking at technology and bringing it to children in a product they can use and enjoy.


Our Kid Connect app is one of our strong USPs for InnoTab. This was something we showed off at Dream Toys and it’s a great way for children to connect with their parents remotely with their InnoTab to their parent’s


smartphone or tablet in a www.toynews-online.biz


safe way anytime, anywhere. Kids can send messages, pictures and videos with Kid Connect and we’re the only company to have that. We’re seeing an


increased use of Kid Connect and this is an area we are looking to expand on going forward in 2014.


What is the biggest challenge you currently face in the children's tablet space? With any brand, and especially an on trend sector like children’s tablets, the challenge is maintaining the longevity of the brand. You have to keep the


brand going for a long period. With VTech’s position as pioneers in tech trends, it puts us in a very good position next year and in the following years going forward. It’s a brand that we will continue to grow because it’s a key part of our business. We’ve also got a great track record.


Kidizoom is a product that has been in the top ten toys for the last ten years. Every single year we’ve introduced new tech while maintaining a similar price to keep consumers on board. We look to follow the same trend with InnoTab. Tablets is an evolving


market, but we’re in a strong position to follow the latest technologies and patterns and bring that into the market for children to enjoy.


We’re seeing an increased use of Kid Connect and this is an area we are looking to


expand on going forward in 2014. Andrew Welch, VTech


Is there a risk that the tablet sector could become over saturated with new companies joining the market? It shows we’re in the right sector. More and more of these technologies are being introduced to schools so kids are seeing tablets at home with their parents as well as in the school space. Kids naturally want to use what parents are going towards. Five years ago it was laptops, then it was mobile phones and now it is tablets.


When there are more people bringing out tablets, you know you’re in something that’s following a trend.


I do think it’s going to be


only recognisable tablet brands that will last. InnoTab has been in the marketplace for years and consumers are aware of it. We’re going to be building on our successful children’s tablet brand and we were one of the first brands in the children’s tablet space. Only key players that are already established in the marketplace will continue in the long-term. For the various strands of the business with InnoTab, we don’t just do the hardware; we do the software and accessories. There’s much more to come from VTech and InnoTab and with our history and experience, we will continue to build on and enforce our position as a leader in the tablet market for kids. The tablet market is here


to stay. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves.


January/February 61


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