U.S. Toy Industry Sales Grow 2 Percent Leading Into the Holiday Season, Reports The NPD Group

Year-To-Date Sales Top $11.6 Billion in the U.S. Through the End of September  

Port Washington, NY, November 8, 2018 – The U.S. toy industry grew its dollar sales by $264 million to $11.6 billion, a 2 percent increase over the same period last year, according to global information company The NPD Group.*

“The 2 percent gain was lower than the 4 percent increase experienced over the same time period in 2017, but this year’s slow growth shouldn’t be dismissed,” said Juli Lennett, senior vice president and industry advisor, Toys, The NPD Group. “With all the change the toy industry has endured over the past year, growth is a welcome surprise and speaks to the tenacity of the toy industry.”

Six of the 11 supercategories tracked by NPD posted gains, with Youth Electronics growing the fastest at 24 percent. 

In terms of top-performing supercategories based on absolute dollar growth, Dolls had the strongest growth, increasing $168 million, a 12 percent increase over last year, followed by Action Figures & Accessories, Youth Electronics, Arts & Crafts, Vehicles, and Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys. 

Though it declined 1 percent to $2.6 billion, Outdoor & Sports Toys was the largest supercategory in terms of dollar sales.  Plush, Games/Puzzles, Building Sets, and All Other Toys posted flat to modest declines.

The top-performing properties based on total dollar sales include Marvel Universe, L.O.L. Surprise!, Nerf, Barbie, and Star Wars. The property that experienced the most dollar growth was L.O.L. Surprise! followed by Jurassic World and Marvel Universe, whose toy sales were propelled by the theatrical releases of Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War. Fingerlings and Funko Pop! rounded out the top five.

Looking Ahead to the Holidays

One way to identify market trends is to look at velocity, or how quickly items are moving off the shelves where they are being sold. This is especially useful over the holidays, when “hot” toys tend to sell out before many consumers begin their holiday shopping. Some of the newest toys on this list are the L.O.L. Surprise House with 85 Surprises, the latest Barbie Dreamhouse, Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck Playset, LEGO City Advent Calendar, and Pomsies Interactive Plush Pets.

“While existing toy retailers have been proactive in dedicating more shelf space and increasing the number of toys they carry both online and in stores, having the right inventory at the end will be equally important,” said Lennett. “Ensuring they have a diverse selection of toys, especially toys with high velocity sales in September, is a great way for retailers to maximize sales through the end of the year.”

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*Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, January-September 2018 

Coinciding with the National Retail Federation calendar which includes an extra 53rd week in 2018, year-to-date dollar sales and trends have been adjusted to account for the extra week.  

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 78 percent of the U.S. retail market for Toys.

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