The decline followed four years of steady growth in the sector.
“After the liquidation announcement of Toys ‘R’ Us last year, there was a great deal of speculation about what would happen to the industry, with some predicting double-digit declines,” says Juli Lennett, vice president and industry advisor, toys, The NPD Group. “Overall, a 2 percent decline is a solid performance after such a significant shift in the retail landscape. It’s also worth noting that annual 2018 sales are slightly higher than in 2016, which experienced mid-single digit growth.”
Sales performance was mixed across super-categories in 2018, with just four out of 11 showing growth–action figures, dolls, youth electronics and arts and crafts. Dolls had the most significant uptick due to the L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie and Hatchimals brands.
Action figures had the second-highest growth with sales from Jurassic World, Marvel Universe and “Beyblade” driving most sales.
The arts and crafts category increased due to Cool Maker, Cra-Z-Art and Kinetic, while youth electronics saw a boost thanks to Fingerlings, Kidi and L.O.L. Surprise! 2018’s leading properties, based on overall dollar sales, include L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Nerf, Marvel Universe and Hot Wheels.