January sales posted the highest growth for the quarter thanks to toy purchases around the Chinese New Year holiday

Port Washington, NY, June 7, 2021 – Toy industry e-commerce sales in China increased by 16% to $1.2 billion (USD) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 (January – March) versus the same time period last year, according to The NPD Group.  January 2021 posted the highest growth rate (34%) for the quarter, with sales driven primarily by purchases made for the February 12 Chinese New Year celebration.

All toy supercategories posted growth in Q1, led by Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys, the largest of all 11 supercategories, which increased 3%.  Other top-performing supercategories included Building Sets, Outdoor & Sports Toys, Action Figures & Accessories, and Explorative & Other Toys. With sales reaching $192 million, Outdoor & Sports Toys posted the highest gains in terms of value sales, a 18% increase over Q1 2020.

Sales in China’s toy market was dominated by Chinese manufacturers, with only four out of top 10 manufacturers being global.

“China is the world’s second-largest toy market and the world’s largest toy production base,” said Frédérique Tutt, Global Toys Industry Analyst at The NPD Group. “It’s a country that is primed for savvy international brands seeking opportunities in new markets.  Even if the rate of growth slowed in 2020 due to the global pandemic, China over-performed other countries in the region and is already bouncing back. With the latest relaxation of the two-child policy and an ever-increasing middle-class population, we expect the Chinese toy market’s healthy growth to continue.”

Sales of licensed toys increased 45%, while sales of non-licensed toys grew by 13%. The top-gaining toy licenses in Q1 were Ultraman, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Disney Frozen.

Chinese New Year Highlights

According to NPD’s 2021 Chinese New Year Gift Study, Toys & Games were the holiday’s most requested gift categories for Chinese children. When making their holiday gift wish lists, 46% of children requested toys that featured their favorite cartoons, television programs, and movies. Social media had a significant impact on children’s wish lists as well with 45% of children asking for toys they saw on short video platforms like TikTok and WeChat.

Chinese consumers spent an average of $91 on Chinese New Year gifts in 2021, a 39% increase when compared to Q1 2020. Online shoppers spent an average of $12 more than consumers who purchased toys at brick and mortar stores.