Port Washington, NY, January 25, 2018 – Toy industry sales grew by 1 percent in 2017 across the 12 global markets tracked by The NPD Group, a leading global information company. On par with the world’s collective performance, toy sales in the United States, the world’s largest toy market, grew by 1 percent to $20.7 billion in 2017*. Partially driven by inflation, Mexico and Russia grew the fastest, with sales in these countries up 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The United Kingdom, France, and Australia experienced declines, while sales were flat in Germany and Italy.
All Other Toys, Plush, and Dolls were the fastest-growing supercategories both globally and in the U.S. Globally, All Other Toys grew its sales by 14 percent, driven by fidget toys, which started to grow around Easter and peaked at the end of June, and slime kits. Plush sales increased by 6 percent, with Hatchimals the largest contributor and Furreal Friends also showing solid growth. Dolls grew by 5 percent, led by L.O.L. Surprise!. Hatchimals CollEGGtibles was also a notable contributor to the growth in Dolls.
Collectibles have been a leader of growth in the toy industry, driven by blind packs. The global collectibles market grew by 14 percent to $3.9 billion, helped by the international popularity of L.O.L. Surprise!, Hatchimals, and LEGO Minifigures. Collectibles accounted for about 8 percent of total industry dollar sales.
The highly talked about Games/Puzzles supercategory grew its sales by 3 percent both globally and in the U.S. The bulk of the growth came during the first eight months of the year, mostly due to gains in Pokémon, as a result of the summer 2016 release of Pokémon Go.
“The toy industry’s 2017 success was tied to consumers positively reacting to social media driven trends and lower price points. The fidget spinner and slime crazes illustrated social media’s influence in amplifying the hottest trends and bringing them to consumers all around the world simultaneously. As evident by the sales success of collectibles, lower priced toys were in many cases a substitute for higher priced ones. However, with higher priced toys needed for market growth, this should be an area of focus for the industry,” said Frédérique Tutt, Global Toys Industry Analyst at The NPD Group.
Looking at the top three selling toy properties, globally and in the U.S. the same players make the list, but in a different order. On the global scale, Star Wars ranked number one, followed by Nerf. In the U.S., Nerf captured the number-one spot, followed by Star Wars, and in both cases Barbie was the third largest property for 2017.
“There’s a need for speed in the world today. In the current retail environment, it is more imperative than ever to be able to react quickly to changing tastes and fast-moving trends. Toy companies, whether they are big or small, who are nimble enough to react faster and get to market more quickly are the ones who will win in the long term,” said Juli Lennett, Senior Vice President and Industry Advisor, Toys, at The NPD Group.
Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service, January-December 2017
NPD’s Global Toys footprint covers Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
*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.