Port Washington, NY, January 27, 2021 – The NPD Group today announced U.S. retail sales of toys generated $28.6 billion in 2021 compared to $25.4 billion in 2020, an increase of 13% or $3.2 billion. Unit sales increased 8% and the average selling price of $12.37 was up 4% vs 2020. The three-year compound annual growth rate for the period between 2018 and 2021 was 8%, driven by ASP growth of 8%. Unit growth during that period was a more modest 1%.
For the second year in a row the COVID 19 pandemic had a strong impact on consumer behavior, which propped up the toy industry in 2021. Two consumer stimulus payments added more than $500 billion to wallets at a time when spending on travel and leisure was at an all-time low. Additionally, the six child tax credit payments in the back half of 2021 also elevated growth in the industry.
“There is no doubt that COVID-19 continued to impact consumer behavior in 2021. The disposable income diverted from other forms of entertainment was a contributor to the industry’s growth as consumers continued to look for ways to entertain their children and themselves,” said Juli Lennett, vice president and industry advisor, Toys, The NPD Group. “In addition to this, we also saw fewer promotions, less price sensitivity, and consumers trading up to higher priced products, all of which helped propel growth for the industry.”
Looking at supercategory performance, ten of the eleven supercategories tracked by NPD had growth in 2021. Compared to 2019, all the supercategories posted a positive 2-year CAGR. Outdoor & Sports Toys continued to be the largest supercategory with $5.9 billion in sales in 2021 while Explorative & Other Toys had the largest dollar gain of $557 million. It also had the fastest dollar growth versus 2020 of 35%. The only absolute dollar decline vs 2020 came from Youth Electronics which declined -0.4% or $2 million. Looking at compound annual growth rates compared to 2019, Explorative & Other Toys had the fastest growth of 24% followed by Games/Puzzles at 23%.
The top properties of 2021 included Pokémon, Barbie, Star Wars, L.O.L. Surprise!, Fisher-Price, Marvel Universe, Hot Wheels, Nerf, LEGO Star Wars, and Little Tikes.
Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, January-December 2021