There's a change at the top of the rotational molding chart this year: Little Tikes Co. has dropped to the No. 2 spot, now behind competing toy molder Step2 Co.
This marks one of the biggest changes ever in any of our rankings. Since the ranking data comes entirely from our own research legwork, we want to explain the change.
Ever since Plastics News started running the rotomolders ranking in 1995, we have estimated Little Tikes' relevant sales at around $200 million. That estimate came from input from industry sources - through the years, Little Tikes management declined to give us much, if any, guidance.
Each year following that initial estimate, we have adjusted Tikes' sales estimate up or down a little bit, based on our own research.
This week we're estimating Tikes' rotomolding sales at $90 million. Certainly, that does not mean the company's sales dropped from $200 million to $90 million in one year. It does represent our efforts to cast a critical eye on a major plastics rotomolder, to update Plastics News data and make our ranking as accurate as possible.
Several factors led us to make the change. They include a reduced overall sales number for Tikes. Also, the company continues to increase the injection molded content of its toys, and that includes sourcing more of its smaller toys from China. There were other factors as well, all gleaned from people in the industry, news stories and other sources of information.
Our basic formula for estimating Tikes' sales had remained the same for 10 years. That formula had become outdated.