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 supercategories within toys, eight of them posted gains, with Action Figures and Dolls experiencing the highest dollar growth.

 Major holidays were among the top reasons for first quarter growth. Sales during the week of Valentine’s Day grew by 9 percent, outpacing the market as a whole, and Easter week by 6 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2015.

“As is typically the case, there were many contributors to Q1 growth, from properties such as Star Wars and Shopkins to the influence of content, whether it is through a movie, television, or YouTube. In addition, this year confirmed that Valentine’s Day and Easter are both occasions that are increasing in importance for the toy industry,” said Juli Lennett, senior vice president and U.S. toys industry analyst, The NPD Group. “While the toy industry experienced the fastest growth in January, its dollar growth was the highest in March, largely due to the Easter holiday.”  

The most popular types of toys during the Easter period fall within the Outdoor & Sports supercategory, which includes sports activities and games, playground equipment, bubble toys/solution, and water/sand toys. The dollar share of all these categories is nearly twice as high during Easter week compared to the average for the rest of the year. In particular, bubble toys/solution is highly seasonal to the Easter holiday; its share of the total industry is nearly five-times more during Easter week as it is the rest of the year.

“Toys have become the new chocolate. Looking at the top 10 items that sold during Easter week, most are very small in size, likely so they may fit in an Easter basket,” said Lennett. “These items are also smaller in terms of price point; the average retail price of a toy for Easter was 38 percent less than the average price of a toy in 2015. Each holiday and spending occasion is unique, and given these ebbs and flows, it’s important for retailers and manufacturers to be in sync with how consumers are shopping and spending during key points throughout the year.”

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Weekly Retail Tracking Service, Weeks 1-13 2016 vs. 2015

Data is representative of retailers that participate in The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service. NPD’s current estimate is that the Retail Tracking Service represents approximately 80 percent of the U.S. retail market for Toys.

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