Despite TRU Closure, Toy Sales Rise 7 Percent

Toy sales in the U.S. increased by 7 percent in dollar sales, an amount of $7.9 billion in the first half of 2018, according to The NPD Group.
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License Global

February 14, 2019

Despite TRU Closure, Toy Sales Rise 7 Percent

This period includes the entirety of the Toys “R” Us liquidation. “It is likely that the Toys 'R' Us news has kept toys top-of-mind for parents and grandparents when shopping for kids in general, benefiting both consumers and the industry,” says Juli Lennett, senior vice president and industry advisor, toys, The NPD Group.

“I am also convinced that the strong toy industry growth so far this year has been at least partially supported by the empathy that people felt towards losing a store like Toys 'R' Us. I think it brought about an emotional response that resulted in parents buying more toys overall.”

Significant gains were made from toys priced $5-19.99 including L.O.L. Surprise!, Total Marvel, Fingerlings, Hatchimals and Soft’n Slo Squishies. Youth electronics is the fastest growing super-category with a 43 percent uptick. The category includes fingerlings, Star Wars and Tamagotchi. In NPD’s new report, The Future of Toys, growth within the category is projected to increase in the next

year and a half, primarily influenced by robotic/interactive playmates and new developments in tech.

Of the top 20 new items for June 2018 that are performing well, six have a dinosaur or unicorn theme. They include Unicorn Sprinkler, Fingerlings Untamed Dino Stealth, Little Tikes Magical Unicorn Carriage, Jurassic World Roarivores Assortment, Mega Unicorn Island Inflatable, and Jurassic World Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate and more. Dinosaur and pony/unicorn-themed toys grew by 77 percent year-to-date through June, a trend that is expected to carry into the holiday season. The unicorn trend has appeared in a variety of categories including makeup, and one example is the Little Tikes Magical Unicorn cage. Action figures and accessories grew by 16 percent. The category was bolstered by the movies

Black Panther

in February;

Avengers: Infinity War

 in January and more.

The doll category increased by 17% due in part to L.O.L. Surprise!, Hatchimals and Barbie, which captured more than two-thirds of the growth. Collectibles have become increasingly popular. However, the Future of Toys report projects that fashion dolls, role play and large dolls will perform well in the second part of 2019, driven by the release of Frozen 2 in November 2019. “From my point of view, the toy retail space has been bustling with activity, and this will continue through the end of 2018,” says Lennett. “Existing toy retailers have announced they will be dedicating more space and will carry more toys this holiday season both in-store and online. We also see new store formats emerge that are more experiential, and we will have new toy retailers entering the space. The industry has shown to be proactive in compensating for the dollars Toys ‘R’ Us has left on the table, and more.”

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