Chapter 18 Consumer Toy Utility Maximisation



Utility maximisation

As a general rule, the constant aim of the person-at-play - in fact, any user of toys - is to get the most out of his toy products, to get most “utility” out of them.

Experience and pleasure derived from playing with a particular toy the person-at-play has asked for or bought for himself/herself is called “utility value” and can in many ways be equated with the experienced satisfaction of a need.

The consumer, whether adult or child, has invested in exactly those benefits and qualities he believes the toy possesses at a cost which he believes is reasonable relative to his income and to other toys he chose not to buy. This is the toy’s “marginal utility”.

According to Crawford’s (1987) and Poulsen’s (1988) definitions of utility maximisation in general terms, a family’s utility maximisation of a toy is:

  • how the individual familycarefully adapts, evaluates and utilises  consumption and acquisition of the “usefulness” of a new toy to the family budget”
  • the familyregulates the family budget in accordance with “marginal utility” because the things the family buys must seem reasonable relative to other purchases of toys (toys’ “utility values”) and relative to all other more or less necessary consumer items.

Consumers would not acquire a product or a toy if it had:


A: socio-psychological significance


B: individual appeal (appeal to the individual consumer).

These two phenomena will be discussed in the following.



Table of Contents