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Revealed: Where to buy the cheapest (and most expensive) kids' toys this Christmas

Revealed: Where to buy the cheapest (and most expensive) kids' toys this Christmas
Matt Browning
Written By:
Matt Browning

Shoppers could be paying over 25% more than needed for children’s toys this Christmas, depending on the retailer. So, to avoid being stung, a consumer champion has revealed which shops to seek out – and which to dodge.

Online retailer Amazon proved to be the cheapest place to shop while toy store The Entertainer was the priciest, according to Which?’s research.

The consumer champion calculated the average cost of 49 popular toys between September and October at Amazon, Argos, Smyths Toys and The Entertainer.

Amazon’s Christmas haul came to £1,042 for all the products and toy store company The Entertainer totalled £1,316 – a 26% difference.

Toys for newborns, toddlers and children starting school were considered with items including favourites such as Barbie, Lego and Paw Patrol as well as a mix of board games, dolls, puzzles and action figures.

When it comes to children at school and those just too young to start, Amazon reigned supreme for their gifts once again, while for babies’ gifts, the cheapest proved to be Smyths Toys.

One toy costs almost double at The Entertainer

In one case, the Barbie Sport Gymnastics Doll and Playset came to £22.73 on Amazon but was £34.39 at The Entertainer. Other stark differences in price came with the Lego Friends Sea Rescue Centre, which would set you back £34.49 at Smyths Toys and Amazon, but costs £45 at Argos.

Elsewhere, you could be paying almost double for a Tomy Toomies Octopals Number Sorting Baby Bath Toy in The Entertainer. The gift costs £9.74 at Smyths Toys and £17 at The Entertainer.

As well as those retailers, the consumer champion also assessed the festive bargains for children’s gifts in supermarkets.

Morrisons was offering up to 57% off 50 big-brand toys, including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Lego, while Tesco had deals for Clubcard holders. Ocado also had offers and multi-buy deals on toys and stationery and Sainsbury’s had a two items for £15 offer, for items priced up to £13.

At a time when parents spend an average of £110 on their children at Christmas, the retail editor at Which?, Ele Clark, offered some advice to families.

She said: “With Christmas fast approaching, people will be looking to snap up the best value toys. When looking to buy something new, always do your research first by checking price comparison sites like PriceRunner, which not only shows current prices at multiple retailers but also reveals a product’s pricing history.”


Toy retailers Average price for 49 toys
Amazon £1,042
Smyths Toys £1,110
Argos £1,246
The Entertainer £1,316


The consumer champion has also set out seven steps you can take to ensure you’re not paying too much for presents:

Seven tips to shop wisely this Christmas

  1. Shop around Retailers: They frequently change their pricing, and some use algorithms to ensure that they’re always cheaper than competitors. Use price comparison sites such as Google Shopping, Kelkoo and Price Runner to see multiple retailers’ prices in one place.
  2. Bide your time: Analysis showed that the Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone was 121% pricier at Amazon depending on when you bought it (£11.33 vs £8.68), so if you have time, keep an eye on the price of specific items you or your loved ones are after.
  3. Track prices: Don’t trust ‘was’ prices as these can be misleading, based on prices from months ago that only lasted a couple of days. To check a product’s pricing history, try using CamelCamelCamel for Amazon and Price Runner for wider market coverage.
  4. Take advantage of extended returns periods: If you’re ready to get cracking with your Christmas shopping, but also want the recipient to be able to return your gift if they don’t want it, check whether the retailer has an extended Christmas returns period which lasts beyond the usual 28 days.
  5. Use discount codes and loyalty points: Many sites offer introductory discounts to new customers so sign up to the mailing list if it gets you a discount code and you can always unsubscribe afterwards. And don’t forget about making use of loyalty card points from retailers and supermarkets to help you pay for gifts.
  6. Earn when you spend: Cashback sites sometimes offer deals at retailers and also enable you to earn money back on your spending.
  7. Buy second-hand: As people declutter ahead of the festive period, there may be bargains to be found in your local charity shops (with some such as Fara having dedicated kids’ stores) and online via sites such as Depop, Facebook Marketplace and Vinted.