U.S. Mid-Year Toy Sales Increase

The toy industry is expected to grow 7 percent for the full year.

Overtaking last year’s mid-year and annual growth rates, the U.S. toy industry has grown 7.5 percent in the first half of 2016, according to the NPD Group.

NPD also estimates that the industry will expand by approximately 7 percent for the entire year.

Furthermore, the global information company reports that Star Wars was the biggest contributor to the mid-year growth, with sales increasing nearly 200 percent through June. Other top performing properties include NERF, Shopkins, Pokémon, Barbie, LEGO Star Wars, Little Tikes, Disney’s Frozen, Hot Wheels and “Minecraft.”

“I expect to see continue growth for the U.S. toy industry for the remainder of 2016 and, if it reaches 7 percent and year-end that would be the fastest growth in the U.S. toy market since 1999,” says Juli Lennett, senior vice present, U.S. toy industry analyst, 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.”

Additionally, outdoor and sports toys were another reason for the industry’s growth–securing $1.7 billion in sales and representing 32 percent of the industry’s total numbers for the year. Last year, at this time, the category also grew the most compared to any super category including dolls, action figures, games/puzzles, plush and more.

Overall, eight of the 11 super categories also reported gains during the first half of 2016, with action figures and dolls growing the fastest at 19 percent and 14 percent respectively.

“I believe some of this explosion in outdoor and sports is a result of Millennials seeking a healthier, outdoor lifestyle for their kids, as well as looking for more laugh-out-loud experiences with play, minus the rules and directions,” says Lennett. “I will be interested to see what new toys will help kids create this type of experience during the fall and winter months.”

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