LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (LF), Mattel, Inc. (MAT): The Evolving Dynamics of the U.S. Toy Industry

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There has been a gradual shift in preference in the US toy industry. Studies have shown that children aged between six to 12 desire tablets (iPads) as their preferred toys. This move away from traditional toys is somewhat reflected in the declining sales of toys in the US. Domestic sales stood at $16.5 billion during 2012, compared to $16.6 billion in 2011.

This decline in the toy industry is attributed to persisting weakness in the US economy coupled with the growing popularity of mobile devices amongst children. In such an environment, companies that have the product line to cater to the demand for new-generation toys are most likely to reap rich dividends in the near future.

Emeryville, CA-based LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF) is a designer, developer and marketer of technology-based products for children. The company offers multimedia learning-platform products.

Promising growth profile and popular products

LeapFrog Enterprises has reported strong growth in its top line over the past few years. During 2012,  overall revenue grew 28% year-over-year (Y-o-Y) to $581.3 million. Domestic revenue also grew 24% to $424.8 million; international revenue grew 38% to $156.5 million.

During 2012, multimedia learning platforms accounted for 83% of net sales,and the remaining 17% came from learning toys. First-quarter 2013 results were above expectations as consolidated net sales grew 15% quarter-over-quarter (Q-o-Q.)

LeapFrog Enterprises Inc (LF): This Toy Maker Should Leap Higher in 2013LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF)'s success is primarily underpinned by a wide range of its products that are in line with digital market trends. The company has strategically  targeted the growing demand for tech-based toys. In contrast, competitors such as Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) and Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) have struggled to emulate LeapFrog.

During 2012, LeapFrog Enterprises offered four of the top-10 selling toys in the U.S. The leading toys on the U.S. list included the tablet and LeapPad. In June, the company is expected to launch new products in addition to new apps for iPads and iPhones.

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF) is now shifting its focus to international markets, such as France and Canada, and the company recently launched its flagship LeapPad in the same markets. LeapFrog has witnessed strong growth in international sales over the past two years. The company plans to invest in developing customized products for new international markets in order to capitalize on growing demand in those regions.

Keep in mind

As per the valuation offered by MarketGrader, the present share price of around $8.58 is a highly attractive proposition. The valuation report also suggests that the company is building consistent momentum and continuously gaining market share. Investors should note that LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF) generated $1.17 as cash per share during the last twelve months. The present share price of $8.58 is 7.33 times its LTM cash flow. This presents a compelling argument in favor of buying this stock as, the company also has a highly conservative capital structure with no long term debt on its balance sheet.

Competitive landscape

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF) is a relatively smaller player with a market cap at around $580 million. Larger players, such as Mattel and Hasbro, presently boast market caps of around $15.7 billion and $6.1 billion, respectively. Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys. Its key products include the iconic and best-selling brands Barbie and Hot Wheels. Similarly, Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) has several iconic brands such as Transformers, Monopoly and G.I. Joe in its portfolio

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