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From Kidult to Preschool

Tim Kilpin, president, toys, licensing and entertainment, Hasbro, speaks exclusively with Ben Roberts, EMEA content director, License Global to define the trends of 2024.

Ben Roberts

February 15, 2024

5 Min Read
Hasbro’s Furby
“Furby”Hasbro

At a Glance

  • What are the current trends in the toy market?
  • How do those trends pertain to licensed products? 
  • What are Hasbro's goals for the next five years?

License Global: What are the current trends in the toy market, and where do you see the most significant shifts coming from across the next few years?

Tim Kilpin: Hasbro has long been a leader in the “kidult” space, and that’s one of the biggest toy trends we’re seeing. Toys aren’t just for children anymore. Data shows that the spending power of kidults is continuing to grow, giving us the opportunity to expand our powerful kidult portfolio that caters to tweens, teens, young adults and the elderly. 

According to The Toy Association, 20% of parents said they would buy toys for aging relatives the past holiday season, with 70% noting that mental stimulation is one of the most positive impacts of play for older adults in their lives. Based on these insights and what we hear from our consumers, the toy industry will become increasingly age-inclusive in the years to come.

Hasbro has been around for over 100 years, and many of our legacy brands have broad appeal that attracts a diverse and passionate fan base. We’ve found that “retro” themes have become an increasing toy trend that gives people feelings of nostalgia and positive reminiscences of their childhood. Last year, on its 25th anniversary, we relaunched Furby, and the demand has been strong, not just with young girls but with millennial parents who owned their Furby friends back in the day. 

Related:The 2024 License Global Toy Forecast

Tim Kilpin, Hasbro

How do those trends pertain to licensed products? 

We’ve worked with best-in-class partners to create premium, innovative products catering to the kidult market. For instance, we’ve collaborated with Robosen Robotics to offer high-tech Transformers robots, including a state-of-the-art Transformers Grimlock Auto-Converting Robot. We’re also working with Ageless Innovation on re-creations of our iconic classic games, “The Game of Life Generations,” “Scrabble Bingo” and “Trivial Pursuit Generations.” As Hasbro’s first-ever licensee dedicated to enhancing the lives of older adults through play experiences, Ageless Innovation designed the time-honored games to meet the needs and interests of aging loved ones and to encourage intergenerational play among families. 

Leaning into retro nostalgia, our friends at Basic Fun! launched Celestial Ponies, a never-before-released ‘90s archival toy collection based on the original “My Little Pony” characters, celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary last year. This year, we’re commemorating the 55th anniversary of NERF, which was recently inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. NERF started out as a foam ball in 1969, and since then, the brand has expanded into the blaster category. However, it remains true to its roots through our collaboration with Franklin Sports, which offers various sports balls, equipment and outdoor play products. 

“My Little Pony” Celestial Ponies.

How does entertainment guide your business strategy regarding new blockbuster releases and new ranges of products?

Storytelling will remain at the heart of our emotional connection to our consumers. From preschool firsts to fantasy worlds, Hasbro’s storytelling engages our multigenerational consumers with heart, humor and rich lore, delivering content whenever and wherever our fans want to consume and connect with our brands. We have a robust entertainment lineup for 2024 and beyond, which translates across categories and furthers our brands’ stories for all.

We’re kicking off “Peppa Pig’s” 20th-anniversary celebration this February with exciting new entertainment through “Peppa’s Cinema Party.” This hour-long adventure offers 10 exclusive never-before-seen “Peppa Pig” Season 10 episodes, including a three-part “Wedding Party” special, of which one episode features the voices of Katy Perry as Ms. Leopard and Orlando Bloom as Mr. Raccoon. In September, we’re introducing the “Transformers” franchise’s first fully CG-animated project with the feature film, “Transformers One.” We’re also debuting the second season of the hit animated series, “Transformers: Earthspark,” in 2024. Both arrive during the brand’s 40th anniversary as well.

As a company that started making toys, we must continue delivering innovative and meaningful products that match our premium content. We have big plans to reveal products tied to entertainment – another vast and growing trend in the market.

 “Peppa Pig’s” Ms. Leopard.

What are your goals for the next five years, and what are you most excited about regarding the future of Hasbro? 

Hasbro is home to the world’s most valuable vault of toy IP, and we intend to continue bringing to life the brands and characters that our fans love in new, engaging and most importantly, fun ways. We put our fans at the center of everything we do to make good on this promise. With newness landing on shelves, across screens and in-person, we deliver the products, entertainment and experiences that matter most to our multigenerational and global fanbase. 

As we continue to strengthen our offerings with all-new products, we’re innovating for not only the consumers of today but the fans of tomorrow. That’s why we’re committed to growing our current brands while developing and launching exciting new global franchises to bring Hasbro to new heights. We’ve also proven the strength of Hasbro’s diversified toy and game portfolio by expanding our footprint across digital gaming, as underscored by the success of licensed digital games, “Baldur’s Gate III” and “Monopoly Go!,” our mission is to entertain and connect generations of fans through the wonder of storytelling and exhilaration of play. We plan to do just that for the next five years and beyond.

About the Author(s)

Ben Roberts

Content Director (EMEA), License Global

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