Only five of 11 supercatergories tracked by NPD posted growth in 2022.

License Global

June 14, 2022

2 Min Read
The NPD logo.
The NPD logo.NPD Group

U.S. toy industry dollar sales increased by 1% or +$63MM for January-April 2022, according to The NPD Group. Unit sales declined 6% and the average sales price of $11.17 increased 7% during the period. Looking at the three-year compound annual growth rate from 2019 to 2022, toy industry dollars grew 13% year-over-year, driven by ASP growth of 11%, while units were up 1% over that period. 

Five of the 11 supercategories tracked by NPD posted growth in 2022. Outdoor & Sports Toys continued to be the largest supercategory with $1.3 billion in sales. Plush had the largest dollar gain of $223 million and the fastest dollar growth of 43%. Looking at compound annual growth rates compared to 2019, Explorative & Other Toys had the fastest growth of 26% followed by Plush at 22%. In fact, seven supercategories posted a double-digit CAGR versus 2019. 

“While the U.S. toy industry dollar growth slowed to 1% YTD April, this was on top of unprecedented  dollar growth of 28% in the same period last year with two stimulus checks lining the pockets of some consumers,” says Juli Lennett, U.S. Toy Industry Advisor, NDP Group. “The decline in units was not unexpected. The strong increase in average selling prices for the third year in a row was unexpected and drove the growth over last year.”  

Drivers of Change and Top Properties 

Looking at the drivers of change for each supercategory, plush had the largest dollar gain, with  Squishmallows, Magic Mixies and Disney All Other as the main drivers of growth. Squishmallows had 8 of the top 15 selling toys for the total toy industry. Explorative & Other Toys grew 36%. NBA and NFL dominated the growth in the category. This was followed by Disney All Other and 5 Surprise which, combined, resulted in the #1 selling toy in the supercategory. Action Figures & Accessories also grew double-digits. Funko Pop had the largest growth, followed by DC Universe and Marvel Universe. Building Sets was up 7%. LEGO Star Wars had the largest growth followed by LEGO Creator Expert and DC Universe. 

The top ten properties for YTD April included: Pokémon, Squishmallows, Star Wars, Marvel Universe, Barbie, Fisher-Price, L.O.L. Surprise!, Hot Wheels, LEGO Star Wars, and Funko POP!. These top 10 grew +15% collectively, while the remaining market declined -0.5%.  

Collectibles was a primary growth driver YTD April, growing 28% or $300MM. Nearly 80% of the growth in collectibles came from Traditional Plush and Non-Strategic Trading Cards/Collectible Stickers (sports trading cards). 

“Although we are in the middle of a challenging economic cycle, parents will not miss important occasions to buy toys for their children,” says Lennett, “However, we might see some consumers trading down or looking for sales to get those toys.” 

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