Toy Industry Growing Says NPD
The U.S. toy industry grew 7.5 percent in the first half of 2016, outpacing last year’s mid-year and annual growth rates, The NPD Group reported earlier this week. NPD estimates that the industry will grow approximately seven percent, or $1.4 billion, for full-year 2016.
“I expect to see continued growth for the U.S. toy industry for the remainder of 2016 and, if it reaches seven percent for year-end, that would be the fastest growth of the U.S. toy market since 1999,” said Juli Lennett, senior vice-president, U.S. toys industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Toys with movie tie-ins will continue to contribute to the increase, stemming from those released both in 2015 and 2016. Television, over-the-top and other content providers, like YouTube and social media, will also continue to drive growth.”
Star Wars was the biggest contributor to the industry’s mid-year growth, with dollar sales for Star Wars toys increasing nearly 200 percent through June. “Star Wars is already at $300 million for the year, compared to $700 million for all of 2015. With two-thirds of toy sales yet to come in 2016, Star Wars could be even bigger this year than last,” said Lennett.
Top 10 U.S. Toy Properties Based on Dollars, January–June 2016 (source: NPD Group)
- Star Wars
- LEGO Star Wars
- Little Tikes
- Disney Frozen
- Hot Wheels
Looking at sales by supercategory, Outdoor & Sports Toys was not only the largest with $1.7 billion in sales, but also the hottest category and another top reason for industry growth so far this year. Last year, at this time, Outdoor & Sports grew the most of any supercategory and, this year, that growth nearly doubled to represent 32 percent of total toy industry growth for the year so far. Overall, eight of the 11 supercategories posted gains during the first half of 2016, with Action Figures and Dolls the two to grow the fastest, at 19 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
TRU Searching for a President of Play
Forget the Republicans and the Democrats, Toys “R” Us is on a nationwide hunt for a President of Play. One child in the U.S. will be selected to spend a year playing with the hottest new toys and games and providing expert recommendations to parents and gift-givers alike. The search is now underway online at Toysrus.com/PresidentofPlay.
“All children should have the opportunity to play—and who better to remind our country of this, and to experience the uninhibited joy that toys bring, than a President of Play?” said Dave Brandon, chairman and CEO, Toys “R” Us, Inc. “We’re looking for someone to join our cabinet of Toys “R” Us experts and represent our iconic brand, as we relentlessly strive to bring smiles to our customers’ faces.”
The President of Play’s responsibilities will include testing the most sought after toys, serving as a Toys “R” Us spokesperson, sharing the latest toy trends through online and promotional videos and attending events across the nation.
Parents throughout the U.S. are encouraged to nominate their child by visiting Toysrus.com/PresidentofPlay and submitting a one-to-two minute video that lets their child’s playful personality shine, as they discuss their favorite toy, gadget, or game. Applicants should be between the ages of 9–13 years old, comfortable on camera, confident, well-spoken, energetic, and most importantly, love playing with toys. Entries must be submitted before 11:59pm EST on August 17, 2016.
Semifinalists will be chosen to participate in an interview and audition with a panel of judges later this summer, followed by a public vote for the two to three semifinalists. The winner of the public vote will be elected to serve as the Toys “R” Us President of Play for a one-year term. More details and official rules are available at Toysrus.com/PresidentofPlay.