Toys Market Research & Business Solutions

If you have kids, there’s likely a closet in your home full of discarded toys. Children change rapidly. As do their playthings. So too does the market that feeds that change. Once upon a time, toys were something a child held. Then they were something a child played on a screen. Then they were things as likely to be collected by adults as loved by a child. Now they are often all these things all at once.

To monitor what’s happening in this dynamic market, we collect point-of-sale information from all major toy retailers. This information, combined with our analysts’ industry perspectives, delivers a comprehensive view of what’s selling and where. We also field more than 12 million consumer surveys a year to help industry leaders understand why consumers shop, where they shop and why they buy what they buy.

Our toy industry solutions can help you engage with consumers and make better business decisions. By combining our information with your own data or third-party input, we can create even more comprehensive solutions that address your unique business issues.

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Products


Retail Tracking

NPD's Retail Tracking delivers weekly point-of-sale (POS) tracking information. It’s the only source for competitive, item-level product detail and insight on toy sales trends. This industry resource can help you understand market dynamics, identify opportunities for growth, and partner more closely with retailers. Our POS footprint covers all the major toy retailers to ensure you are working with information that gives a complete view of the marketplace.

You can use it to create a scorecard using common language, obtain accurate and timely information about your competitors, identify assortment opportunities, benchmark pricing, identify new products, and better manage your business. The data includes a global category hierarchy, which you can use to make cross-country comparisons.

This service is derived from un-projected POS data from all major toy retailers. It encompasses about 80% percent of the total traditional toy industry, which covers more than 37,800 global retail doors and 
online retailers. The POS data is delivered monthly and weekly

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Consumer Tracking

Our Consumer Tracking provides in-depth detail straight from consumers, so you can analyze retailer share, measure category and channel performance, explore consumer demographics, and understand purchase dynamics. Over 12 million surveys annually tell us where consumers shop, what they buy, and how much they pay. The service delivers a comprehensive picture of consumer activity across all retail channels. Its information is aligned with our Retail Tracking hierarchy, allowing for high-level market alignment of our toys consumer data. Toy industry leaders use this robust information to uncover opportunities and create products, messaging, and promotions that appeal to their target consumers.

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Account Level Reports

These reports enable retailers who choose this option to share their information with approved vendors, allowing vendors to analyze business performance at specific retailers down to the item level in many instances. By making this report available to their vendors, retailers can work together with them to optimize performance. These reports may only be made available with the express permission of the retailer.

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Shopping Activity Services

Get access to insights on shopping, browsing, and buying visits across all channels, retailers, categories and demographics. View conversion rate and average spend measures and see how they vary by retailer, season, and demographic. Gain an understanding of where else your customer is shopping and buying.

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Solutions


You have opportunities. You face threats. What you need are smart, quantifiable methods of distinguishing one from the other and maximizing your chances of success.  NPD’s Solutions Group includes a team of senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that address strategic marketing, sales, and planning issues.

We combine NPD POS and consumer information, industry expertise, and custom survey research… then add state of the discipline research techniques and methodologies to explain the “why behind the buy”.  Through advanced modeling and analytic services, we offer insight into what will happen in the future, not just what has happened in the past, answering your most pressing business questions:


Reports


April 1, 2015

Today’s Teachers: School Supply Purchasing Dynamics & Behaviors

Get a clear sense of what teachers purchase for their classrooms, what’s on their lists for students, and what drives decision making when it comes to school supplies.

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January 13, 2014

Toys Retail Tracking Service

Evolution of Play — get a new view of what's happening and what's ahead

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January 10, 2014

Explore Kids' New Way to Play

How are mobile devices and apps affecting the way kids play?

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September 30, 2013

Weekly Retail Tracking Service Information
see what’s happening week by week

Give your business the gift of weekly point-of-sale (POS) information. You’ll make better business decisions, faster, and your company will be more agile in responding to market changes.

Our Retail Tracking Service delivers unmatched POS information. It helps leading companies understand market dynamics, partner with retailers, and identify growth opportunities. Our retail footprint covers the major retailers, capturing sales from tens of thousands of doors. It’s an unprecedented view of what’s happening today. This industry resource presents new detail on volume, share, and trend by item, category, property, and manufacturer. It also covers average selling price.

The new weekly information option means you get market views even faster, especially important during the holiday selling season. You’ll have the input you need to make decisions quickly and effectively and respond even faster to market shifts.

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April 29, 2013

Zoom In On Toy Trends

See the most detailed information on toy consumers. Discover your most promising opportunities.

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Press Releases


May 5, 2016

Disney is the Most Desirable Toy Brand in China, Reports The NPD Group

NPD’s Asia Pacific team recently completed its China Toy Usage & Attitude Study. This report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the China toy market, is available for purchase now. The China Toys Usage & Attitude Study answers a host of critical business questions. Its data and insight NPD’s Asia Pacific team recently completed its China Toy Usage & Attitude Study. This report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the China toy market, is available for purchase now.

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May 2, 2016

U.S. Toy Industry Grows 6 Percent During the First Quarter of 2016

Holidays Including Valentine’s Day and Easter Grow in Importance Port Washington, NY, May 2, 2016 – The U.S. toy industry grew by 6 percent, or $206 million, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015*, according to global information company The NPD Group. Out of the 11 The U.S. toy industry grew by 6 percent, or $206 million, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015*, according to global information company The NPD Group. Out of the 11 supercategories within toys, eight of them posted gains, with Action Figures and Dolls experiencing the highest dollar growth.

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January 20, 2016

Stellar Performance for U.S. Toy Industry, Growing Nearly 7 Percent in 2015, The NPD Group Reports

Content-Related Toy Sales Driven by Star Wars Among Top Reasons for Industry Growth Port Washington, NY, January 20, 2016 – U.S. toy sales grew by 6.7 percent in 2015*, according to retail sales data from global information company The NPD Group, generating $19.4 billion and marking one of the st U.S. toy sales grew by 6.7 percent in 2015*, according to retail sales data from global information company The NPD Group, generating $19.4 billion and marking one of the strongest performances the industry has seen in a number of years.

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Insights


August 19, 2015

Toying With Gender-Neutral Labels

In mid-August Target made headlines after announcing a phase-out of gender-based signage in certain children’s sections of its store. The move came after an Ohio mom called out the retailer on Twitter for gender designation in its toy aisle, noting signage for “Girls’ Building Sets” next to regular “Building Sets”. Target took action after other consumers joined in the dialogue:   

“Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes—for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well—signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary. We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.”

Target announced it will begin by removing reference to gender in the Bedding and Toys aisles, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of its shelves.

Recently we’ve written about the concept of gender neutrality as it relates to fashion, apparel, and accessories. In response to an emerging segment of consumers in support of gender fluidity, many brands and retailers are blurring the lines and offering apparel that can be worn by anyone, irrespective of gender.

When we consider gender in the context of toys and children’s products, it brings into question that age-old “nature versus nurture” debate. Do girls like dolls in pink dresses because that’s what stores market and sell to them? Do boys like blue trucks because that’s what they’re encouraged to like when they receive them as gifts from Grandpa? Or is there something innate in humans that accounts for the 96 percent of doll purchases gifted to girls and 90 percent of action figure purchases gifted to boys?  

Consider the fact that boys once wore pink. In the mid-19th century, pastel pink and blue were added to the formerly all-white baby palette. Around 1918, a department store proclaimed that pink was for boys, and blue for girls—as pink was considered a stronger color, and blue more delicate. In the 1940s, this color assignment was swapped in response to manufacturer and retailer color interpretations. So this blue/boy pink/girl association was happenstance.

We decided to look at how parents feel about this debate today. In an online poll of U.S. adults conducted through The NPD Group's partner CivicScience, we asked respondents to what degree they agreed with the statement “The toy industry perpetuates gender stereotyping and should be marketing every toy to both boys and girls”.

We found 31 percent of respondents strongly disagreed, 28 percent didn’t have an opinion on the issue, and the rest were divided pretty evenly between strongly agree (14 percent), somewhat agree (14 percent), and somewhat disagree (13 percent). So among the general population, most respondents (44 percent) disagreed with the statement, in favor of marketing toys differently to boys and girls.

However, responses to this question differed drastically for particular segments. For example, 36 percent of females either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, compared to only 18 percent of men. Millennials were even more supportive of gender-neutral toy marketing, with 40 percent in agreement with this statement.

Responses to Question by Segment

There were some other notable correlations in the data. People who think toy companies should practice genderless marketing to kids are 166 percent more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. They’re more likely to support same-sex marriage, be concerned about climate change, and worry about income inequality.

They’re also 136 percent more likely to consume most of their TV content via streaming service, 34 percent more likely to rate price over brand in making a purchase decision, 45 percent more likely to use Facebook daily, and twice as likely to use Instagram daily.

So what does this mean for big box retailers like Target? The proof is in the data. While today most adults may take no issue with gender stereotyping within the toy industry, as Millennials begin to have children of their own and purchase items with kids in mind, retailers would be wise to start adapting their marketing strategies to this segment’s set of evolving wants and needs.  

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September 30, 2013

Weekly Retail Tracking Service Information
see what’s happening week by week

Give your business the gift of weekly point-of-sale (POS) information. You’ll make better business decisions, faster, and your company will be more agile in responding to market changes.

Our Retail Tracking Service delivers unmatched POS information. It helps leading companies understand market dynamics, partner with retailers, and identify growth opportunities. Our retail footprint covers the major retailers, capturing sales from tens of thousands of doors. It’s an unprecedented view of what’s happening today. This industry resource presents new detail on volume, share, and trend by item, category, property, and manufacturer. It also covers average selling price.

The new weekly information option means you get market views even faster, especially important during the holiday selling season. You’ll have the input you need to make decisions quickly and effectively and respond even faster to market shifts.

Read More


Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts


April 5, 2016

Where is Europe’s next Furby?

After the record-setting success of Furby, the robotic pet that communicated and ate with the help of an app, sales of connected toys in Europe have slumped, down 18% year-on-year in 2015.

Obviously, a phenomenal success like Furby, which topped European toy markets in 2013 and 2014, sets up difficult year-on-year comparisons. But Furby was also successful in the U.S. and Canada, and in those markets, connected toys were up 82% in 2015.

So why isn’t Europe buying connected toys?

Price is possibly part of the answer as connected toys tend to be more expensive. On the other hand, high-end toys (€100 or higher) are a growth segment, so price doesn’t entirely explain it.

Another reason may be that connected toys are not widely stocked at mainstream toy stores in Europe. This might be linked to retailers being cautious in reaction to concerns from some consumer groups about data privacy and from we parents worried about too much screen-time for our kids. However, since internet sales of toys continue to soar in Europe, determined buyers can find what they want online. Perhaps, there simply hasn’t been an overarching popular concept post-Furby, and European consumers haven’t been wowed by a connected toy since.

But they will be; and most likely soon.

Whether we like it or not, toy trends often spread from the U.S. to Europe, and in the U.S., the connected toy segment is booming, thanks in part to toys such as Meccanoids from Spin Master, Sphero’s BB8, and Anki Overdrive. And in looking at the aisles of the New York toy fair in February, there are many more to come.

In other words, the important question isn’t if there will be other connected hits in Europe, but rather what they will be, when they will erupt, and – of course – which retailers will be smart enough to stock them first.


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March 18, 2016

March Break Boosts Canadian Toy Industry

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NPD Partners:

  • CivicScience