The retailer has analysed three years of Wendy house sales data which, it said, ‘shows interesting parallels with the UK’s real-life housing market’.
The average amount spent on a play house is now at a three-year low of £122.20, diving 12% from last year’s high of £134.40. Customers are increasingly turning away from plastic Wendy houses and play houses and embracing environmentally-friendly wooden versions, with a 60% increase in the number of wooden houses sold since 2017.
The most popular ‘new build’ is a £129.99 playhouse with its own kitchen. A foldable bungalow and wooden single-storey accommodation are also among the top 10 most-bought Wendy houses.
Price was the first consideration amongst buyers, who shunned expensive two-storey options, slides and extra non-essential features. Unlike in the real housing market, four out of 10 purchases are made without negotiation (eg not in the sale), and just 6% of Wendy houses are bought by first time buyers.
Liverpool, Birmingham and Belfast are the three cities where the Wendy house market is booming so far in 2019, with parents willing to splurge on outdoor toys. London, where families may have less space thanks to rising real-life property prices, was outside the top 10.
The top 10 (play house) property hotspots are: Liverpool, Birmingham, Belfast, Newcastle, Bristol, Nottingham, Leicester, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.
Matthew Stent, outdoor toys buying manager at Argos, said: “Wooden Wendy houses are on the up, suggesting that customers want to be more eco-friendly by reducing the amount of plastic in their households. Wooden versions also enable parents and children to more easily customise their Wendy House by painting it different colours or adding names or initials, making it unique to them.
“The most popular play houses in the Argos range are foldable and smaller in size, allowing for indoor and outdoor play, with buyers cautious with their money and wanting Wendy houses that can be used whatever the weather. And unlike the actual housing market, you don’t need a massive deposit to get on the Wendy house ladder, with lots of great value options for parents.”