The Toy Association trends team announced the top toy trends of the 2022 holiday season — from toys that immerse families in magical play experiences away from their devices, to purpose-driven play that introduces children to diversity, environmental causes, and social issues. The trends are backed by extensive product research and tracking by The Toy Association trends team throughout the year, as well as a OnePoll survey commissioned by the Association which gauged 2,000 U.S. parents’ attitudes about toys, play, and what is really driving their toy purchases.
“While reports indicate that consumers have lower confidence to spend due to inflation, toys historically have proven to be recession resistant because of their affordability and families’ desire to make sure kids experience the wonder of play through toys and games,” said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “Our research shows families are turning to play to destress, make memories, and have fun: In fact, 67 percent of parents in our survey said they spend more time playing with their kids now than they did before the pandemic, and 54 percent said they specifically seek out toys that will enable them to make new memories with their children.”
The Toy Association trends team previewed hundreds of products that will be hitting shelves this holiday season to determine what will be topping wish lists, taking into account how the 2022 toy trends announced by the team earlier this year have evolved. In dozens of late summer and early fall meetings, companies of all sizes showcased diversity in dolls and action figures, must-have collectibles, addictive fidget toys, tech-infused toys, STEM/STEAM products, arts & crafts, and more, giving the team insight into developing and emerging trends in the toy and play space.
The following is a summary of the top Holiday 2022 trends and toys as determined by Toy Association:
All About the Experience After two years of living through a pandemic, today’s consumers are more driven by the experiences they have than ever. While today’s kids are growing up as digital natives, their parents care about the memories their children are making in the real world. This holiday, look out for screen-free toys that allow kids to customize their play experiences, playthings that bring digital worlds to life, and ones that super-size and innovate classic play for the whole family. This trend also encourages hands-on play and skill-building. Examples: Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit (Abacus Brands) Cody Block (QUBS) Disney Kingdomania (Funko) Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball (Moose Toys) Mario Kart™ 24V Ride-On Racer (Jakks Pacific) Play-Doh Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset (Hasbro) Twister Splash (WowWee)
Purpose-Driven Play Seventy-three percent of U.S. parents appreciate that today’s toys are more progressive and diverse than when they were kids, and 68 percent expressed interest in purchasing toys that expose their children to diversity and teach inclusion. Additionally, a whopping 92 percent of parents who turned to toys that help support their children’s social and emotional learning during the pandemic say they are continuing to do so. Now, when you shop your choice toy store, you’ll be met with toys that are sustainably made, speak to important social issues like climate change, create a more inclusive world, and support children’s mental health. Examples: Hugimals (Hugimals) Global Kidizen Doll Collection (For Purpose Kids) Miniland Baby Doll with Down Syndrome & Glasses (Miniland) Playmobil Wiltopia – Animal Care Station (Playmobil) Snap Circuits: Green Energy (ELENCO) WindBots: 6-in-1 Wind-Powered Machine Kit (Thames & Kosmos) Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart (Melissa & Doug)
Entertainment Everywhere Kids continue to take a cross-platform approach to media consumption and 66 percent of parents now report that social media and digital content influence the types of toys their kids want. For toymakers, this means new licensing opportunities and a springboard for emerging trends in play (as seen with fidget and sensory play videos on TikTok). From Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube, to the growing mainstream popularity of gaming, there are seemingly endless new channels of opportunity for toymakers to tap. Examples: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Fresh Fierce Collection by The Fresh Dolls (World of EPI) CoComelon Ultimate Adventure Learning Bus (Just Play) Gabby’s Dollhouse Cook with Cakey Kitchen (Spin Master) LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Peach Starter Course (LEGO) Pokémon Trading Card Game: Pokémon GO Elite Trainer Box (The Pokémon Company International) Pop It! Pro Light-Up Fidget Toy (Buffalo Games) Squishmallows (Jazwares) VTech Level Up Gaming Chair (VTech)
Play for All Play is for everyone — and the numbers prove it. Children won’t be the only ones making out toy wish lists this year, as toy-spending trends indicate adults (kidults) enjoy playtime just as much as kids. Parents who reported purchasing toys for themselves rank board games (52 percent) and collectibles/fan items (48 percent) among their most sought-out categories. Additionally, 67 percent of U.S. grandparents report looking for toys they can enjoy with their grandkids when gift shopping. Playthings with cross-generational appeal will continue to resonate with toy lovers of all ages this holiday.
Examples: Amazing Prediction Thinking Putty (Crazy Aaron’s) The Magical World of Disney Trivia Game (PlayMonster) Lite-Brite Wall Art, Transformers Edition (Basic Fun!) Build-A-Bear After Dark Collection (Build-A-Bear Workshop) Connect 4 Spin Game (Hasbro) Custom Photos Magna-Tiles (CreateOn) Create a Castle BuildMaster (Create A Castle) Little People Collector E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Figure (Mattel) The Toy Association trends team will present its full-year 2023 toy trends on March 8, 2023 in New York City at The Play Date – a brand-new event hosted by The Toy Association in partnership with Adventure Media & Events that will connect consumer, trade, and business press with toy brands and products that will be hot throughout the year. The toy industry and press are also invited to save the date for a reimagined Toy Fair, taking place September 30 to October 3, 2023 in New York City, when toy companies from around the world will showcase priority holiday items while taking 2024 preview meetings behind closed doors.