Suppliers of hand & finger puppets are adding electronic elements to keep up with competitors in the sector.
Hand and finger puppet makers in China are upgrading products to boost profitability amid heightened competition within the industry.
As a subgroup of plush toys, the line accounts for only 10 to 15 percent of total shipments for the category. Sales reflected minimal growth in 2010 compared with larger stuffed play items, which showed a 15 to 30 percent increase. Suppliers attribute this trend to the growing demand for more innovative models such as electronic teddy bears.
Makers have been therefore offering high-tech versions. LEDs are fitted in some stuffed puppet heads. But as the selection is traditionally manipulated by hand, there is limited room for such features. Resultantly, most releases of this type are OEM-based, with few manufacturers spending on in-house development.
The majority of hand and finger puppets from China come in animal, human or cartoon designs. Variants for the palm are 20 to 30cm, while the latter are 8 to 12cm.
Polyester is the primary material used in the line. Fleece, velboa, velvet and velour are among the common constructions. Available at more than 180gsm and with a 1.5 to 4.5mm pile, the popular textiles are 450 to 480gsm and boast a 3mm nap. Nonwoven fabrics and T/C are also utilized. Knitted acrylic can be incorporated in upscale designs.
Several releases have PP filling as well. These are generally $0.06 to $0.10 costlier than regular puppets. Current spending for the stuffing is $1,360 to $1,810 per ton.
Facial details such as the nose and eyes can be embroidered or in plastic. The first is usually done electronically, making it 10 times more expensive than attaching the synthetic pieces.
The key determinants of hand and finger puppet quotes are the materials and workmanship.
Low-end models are $0.25 to $0.40 and made of polyester fleece, velboa or velvet below 250gsm. Most come in animal or cartoon shapes with no stuffing.
Midrange variants go for $0.45 to $1.50. Releases adopt 250 to 280gsm polyester fleece, velboa, or regular, superfine or coral velvet. Some products contain filling and may be licensed designs.
High-end puppets utilize similar materials as in the midrange, except they weigh 380 to 480gsm. Polyester and polyvinyl velvet, kylin plush and knitted acrylic are available as well. The majority employs stuffing. Cartoon character models are typically branded.
Model: High Hope-1
Model: High Hope-2
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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