U.S. toy industry dollar sales increased 11% in Q3 0f 2021, while January through September sales were up 17% or $2.3 billion, according to The NPD Group.
The NPD Group attributes growth to the child tax credit, fewer promotions, price increases, new toy buyers, high income households, and a continuation of pandemic lifestyles.
“With the pandemic lifestyle continuing to fuel the toy industry, adults remain engaged in collecting and playing with toys,” said Juli Lennett, U.S. toys industry advisor. “I expect that some of these adult consumers will continue with this behavior post-pandemic as well.”
At the same time, the industry saw a dip in quarter-over-quarter growth.
“While Q3 2021 posted double-digit growth compared to last year, we did experience a slight pull-back in quarter over quarter dollar sales compared to Q1 and Q2 2021, down 6% on average,” said Lennett. “This might have been a consequence of delays in the supply chain.”
NPD tracked 11 supercategories within the toys and games space, nine of which grew in Q3. Three of the supercategories experienced growth over 20%.
The fastest-growing category was plush at 39%, led by Jazwares’ Squishmallow brand, and followed by Cocomelon and Care Bears (Basic Fun! manufactures licensed plush for the Care Bears brand).
Explorative and other toys saw the largest dollar gain, driven by brands and franchises NFL, NBA, and ZURU’s 5 Surprise line.
Building sets were up 24% with LEGO Star Wars taking in the largest growth, followed by LEGO Creator Expert and Marvel Universe.
On top of 14% growth last year, the games and puzzles segment increased 13% this year — including Pokémon titles as well as Magic: The Gathering (owned by Hasbro) and What Do You Meme?.
The top 10 properties in Q3 2021 were Barbie, Pokémon, Star Wars, L.O.L. Surprise!, Fisher-Price, Marvel Universe, Hot Wheels, LEGO Star Wars, Nerf, and Paw Patrol. These brands grew a combined 17% while the rest of the market grew 9%.