Which shops are the cheapest for Christmas toys?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And the most [insert expletive of choice] expensive.
With the country still firmly in the grip of the cost-of-living crisis, a lot of us may well be scaling back the festivities in 2023.
But it seems cutting back on presents for the kids may be a sacrifice too far for many of us. Our Christmas survey found, although 46% of us plan to spend less than £50 socialising over the festive period, 59% of us aren’t prepared to see our kids miss out on gifts.
So, if you’re determined there’ll be just as many presents for the kids under the tree this year despite soaring living costs, it’s probably more important than ever to get your toys for the best possible price.
Helpfully, consumer champions Which? have carried out a comparison to find out which shops are cheapest for Christmas toys.
Here’s what they found.
Which? compared a trolley of 49 popular Christmas toys for kids of all ages and worked out their average prices at Amazon, Argos, The Entertainer and Smyths Toys between 18 September and 18 October.
Toys included action figures, dolls, board games and puzzles, and construction toys from a range of big brands including Vtech, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Paw Patrol and Lego.
Amazon top of the tree for festive cheer
The retailer spreading the most festive cheer with cheap prices for Christmas toys was Amazon. The average cost of the trolley from the online giant was £1,042 across the month.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, The Entertainer proved to be the Scrooge of Christmas toy discounts, costing on average 26% (£274) more than Amazon at £1,316.
Smyths Toys' trolley came out at £1,110 and Argos' at £1,246.
Cheapest toy shops by age group
Although Amazon was the cheapest overall, when it comes to baby toys, Smyths Toys was found to offer the best prices – at £90 for five toys.
Amazon came out as the shop offering the best value for both preschool (£438 for 20 toys) and school age (£512 for 24 toys) kids though.
The Entertainer was the most expensive across all age groups - £102 for five baby toys, £503 for 20 preschool toys and £711 for 24 school-age toys.
Other places to find cheap Christmas toys
Which? didn’t include supermarkets in their analysis as they don’t tend to stock a huge range of branded toys. But the toys they do have can be available at favourable prices, especially when there are sales on, so keep an eye out!
At the time of writing, Morrisons is offering up to 57% off a range of big brand toys, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. A lot are already out of stock though, so when sales land, you may need to be quick.
Sainsbury’s also has a range of offers on toys at the moment, including a two for £15 deal that includes individual items worth up to £13.
Elsewhere, Tesco is also offering a range of discounted toys for Clubcard holders.
Second-hand shops and online sites
Whether it’s from your local charity shop, online sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace or a car boot sale, there are some great second-hand bargains to be had. You might even be able to get hold of some items for free on sites like Freegle and Freecycle.
If you can’t afford an extravagant Christmas, why not talk to other people with kids and see if you can join forces to make the festive season special. You could pass on toys that your kids have outgrown so that everyone ends up getting something that’s new to them.
Making sure you’re getting the best deal
When buying any Christmas presents, it may be worth checking a product’s price history to make sure you’re not paying over the odds. CamelCamelCamel will show you if you’re getting a good price on Amazon while PriceRunner claims to compare prices on 3.7 million products from 6,400 shops.
It’s also worth shopping around, as prices change all the time as retailers try to outdo their competitors. Comparison sites like Kelkoo, Google Shopping and PriceRunner show the prices being charged by various shops in one place.
If you can’t afford the Christmas present your child wants
It’s tough when your child asks for a specific present that you can’t afford. If you find yourself in this position, it may help to be open with your child about how much you can afford.
If you know other people will be buying your child a present, you could ask for money to put towards the big gift they’ve asked for. If enough people contribute, you may be able to buy their ideal pressie after all. Or they could give cash or vouchers directly to your child so that they can save up the money themselves.
A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.
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