UTICA, New York – One in four Americans say they plan to spend less on toys this year because of recent safety recalls, a concern that appears to be focused directly on products manufactured in China, a new MSN-Zogby Poll shows.
This year’s rash of toy recalls has increased concern about toy safety headed into the holiday season, but Americans are divided about the prospect of buying only toys made in the United States – 34% say they are planning on only buying U.S. made toys this year, but just as many (34%) say they will not limit their toy shopping to exclusively U.S. made toys.
The vast majority (83%) of respondents said China is the country that they most associate with unsafe toys, and 68% of respondents said recent recalls have impacted their decision to purchase toys manufactured specifically in China. The U.S. is the country considered most closely associated with making safe toys for 70% of respondents, followed by 11% who say Western Europe makes the safest toys and 3% who say toys from Canada are safest.
Many Americans are just as wary of products made by large manufacturers, such as Mattel, Disney and Hasbro, with 43% saying they do not associate popular toy companies with safety, compared to 42% who say they do associate these companies with safe toys. Smaller companies are not immune to consumer scrutiny either, as 40% said they do not think toys made by smaller manufacturers are any safer than those made by leading companies, 40% were unsure and 20% say they think toys from small-scale toy producers are safer. The Zogby Interactive survey of 4,103 adults nationwide was conducted Nov. 14-16, 2007 and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.6 percentage points.
Most Americans aren’t convinced that extra spending will result in safer toys – 87% of Americans say expensive toys can pose just as much of a safety risk for children as cheaper toys. While toy science and technology have grown exponentially in recent years, 48% of respondents said they don’t think toys are any safer now then when they were children, compared to 36% who say the toys are safer now.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) believe the responsibility for consumer safety should fall on toy manufacturers, followed by the U.S. government (34%) and finally consumers/parents (15%).
Most respondents (62%) say they would be willing to pay a premium if they were guaranteed that the toys they buy are safe, but more than half (51%) say they are not sure how much more they would be willing to spend for safe toys. Eighteen percent said they would pay 10% more for safer products and only 7% say they would spend more than 25% more for toys that are guaranteed to be safe.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have never had a toy in their home recalled, but 7% said it has happened once and 6% say they have had to deal with toy recalls multiple times. Almost a quarter (23%) say they are not sure. And then there’s the question of what to do with a recalled toy. Half of respondents said they would bring a toy that was recalled back to the store where they purchased it, followed by 29% who said they would simply throw the offending toy away and another 13% who said they would send it back to the manufacturer.
The news media are the most trusted resource for information about toy recalls according to 44% of respondents, ahead of online resources (30%), government agencies (10%), toy manufacturers (3%) and toy retailers (3%).
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