aNb Media News, November 3, 2016

NPD Forecasts Toy Industry Growth

U.S. toy sales grew by six percent from January through September 2016, according to retail sales data from The NPD Group. NPD expects several trends to drive the toy industry to continued growth through the remainder of 2016, including consumer movement towards experiential purchasing, the popularity of collectibles, the drive toward healthier living, and higher price-points during this holiday season. For the year, NPD estimates toy sales to be up approximately 6.5 percent.

NPD reported that Games and Puzzles is the fastest-growing supercategory thus far in 2016, up 16 percent, followed by Dolls and Action Figures & Accessories, both up 12 percent. Within Games and Puzzles, every type of game is fueling growth, from family strategy and board games, to brainteasers and adult games, as well as preschool games. NPD noted that the Pie Face Game and UNO Card Game are both among this year’s top-10 selling items year-to-date.


The collectibles craze has built significant momentum heading into the fourth quarter. Sales of collectibles, which fall under playset dolls and action figures, were up 64 percent, or over $220 million, through September. Approximately one quarter of the $220 million is tied to blind bags, which are estimated to have grown about 80 percent so far this year.

Year-Round Healthy Living:

The healthy living trend is a likely growth driver in many non-toy categories NPD tracks, from athletic footwear and activewear, to digital fitness and fresh food consumption. It is also tied to 9 percent year-to-date growth in Outdoor & Sports toys, the largest toy supercategory with dollar sales representing about a quarter of all toy industry sales. On a dollar-basis only, Outdoor & Sports is the industry’s strongest growing thus far in 2016.

Higher-Priced Items:

While collectibles such as blind bags may be popular stocking stuffers, higher-priced toys are likely to be the presents wrapped under the tree this holiday season. Items including the Star Wars Sphero App Controlled BB-8 and Star Wars Millennium Falcon are among the top-10 toys year-to-date, while the newly-released Hatchimals, an interactive toy that hatches from an egg, which released on October 7, was already among the top-five best-selling toys for the week ending October 8, 2016.

TIA Updates Mission, Announces New Strategic Plan

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) board of directors recently gave unanimous approval to an updated mission statement and new strategic plan for 2017–2020. The plan is designed to support the evolving needs of the toy community, a rapidly changing global marketplace and the expectations of 21st century families.

“Our goal is to ensure that TIA remains a trusted, healthy organization that continually demonstrates its ability to serve our members’ needs and interests by sensing, responding, adapting, and demonstrating leadership,” said Steve Pasierb, TIA president and CEO. “Today, our responsibilities on behalf of our members span across North America and around the world as we remain steadfast in our commitment to championing the core benefits and types of play, which have been essential in the lives of children for more than a century.”

The announcement kicks off a wider rebranding effort that will include the Association relocating to a bright, creative new office space in New York City, timed with the unveiling of a new logo, positioning tag line, and website for the organization in the spring of 2017.

The 2017–2020 strategic plan, which will come into effect in January, is focused on six, interlinked goals with multiple priority actions detailed by year under each:

  1. Focus on TIA’s core services and long-term transformation
  2. Strengthen and expand TIA’s global advocacy and market access programs
  3. Elevate the public image of the toy industry
  4. Develop organization and industry human leadership
  5. Ensure financial sustainability
  6. Improve the membership experience

TIA says that U.S. toy sales are showing robust growth, toy companies are creating innovative products, technology is opening up new horizons, and a new generation of parents is embracing the essential role of play and its benefits for their children.

“Building on its past successes and looking ahead to the endless possibilities of the future, TIA is prepared to stand by our members every step of the way as they endeavor to touch children’s lives by bringing them happiness and the many developmental benefits of play in the years to come,” said Pasierb.

For more detailed information on the plan, click here.

WIT Announces New Fundraising Option

Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment (WIT), announced a new way for both women and men in the industry to provide personal donations in support of the organization’s programs and initiatives. Dubbed The Superhero Circle, it allows individuals to support WIT’s ongoing programs and empowerment initiatives including panels, webinars, online resources, and more. In addition, at some levels, those who join the Superhero Circle will also have the opportunity to share their industry knowledge and raise their profile within the industry by leading webinars, website and social promotion, and much more.

One example of a Superhero, and one of the original inspirations for the concept of WIT’s new Superhero Circle, has been the personal donations from WIT Board Member and CMO of Spin Master, Nancy Zwiers. She has been sponsoring WIT’s Learn the Ropes Webinar Series for the past two years.

Contributions to WIT will be used to fund programs including:

  • WIT Empowerment Programs
  • Educational and Professional Webinars
  • Online tools and resources (Speakers’ Bureau, Job Board, and more)
  • WIT Chapters Expansion
  • Research projects

Individual Superhero Circle supporters can support the organization in the following ways:

  • Gargantuan Hero: $5,000+
  • Behemoth Hero: $2,500–$4,999
  • Colossal Hero: $1,000–$2,499
  • Humongous Hero: $500–$999

Shopkins Shop-in-Shop Now at TRU

Moose Toys announced the official launch of Shopkins feature shops at Toys “R” Us. The shops range in size, spanning up to 16-feet long, and are now open at all Toys “R” Us stores nationwide. These front-of-store boutiques feature a wide assortment of sought-after new, coveted Shopkins products including: toys, backpacks, bedding, jewelry, bikes and helmets, books, consumer electronics, stationery products, confectionery, apparel, and room décor, along with the latest DVD movie, now available from Universal Home Entertainment.

Since its 2014 launch, Shopkins has become a global phenomenon with each season offering more than 100 different Shopkins characters to collect, complemented by a line of Shoppies dolls. Its animated webisode series has amassed nearly 180 million views on YouTube.

What’s New in Games and Puzzles TTPM

The NPD Group is reporting that Games and Puzzles is the fastest-growing supercategory thus far in 2016, see stats in the lead story above. TTPM is showcasing the newest Games and Puzzles. For the latest in Toys, Tots, Pets, and More as well as what’s trending, visit