Toy market news

Toy boom: first half 2021 global toy industry sales spike 15% eclipsing 2020, 2019, NPD says

Despite shipping concerns and empty shelves in some locations, the global toy industry is still on a roll with famous brands, including Pokémon, Barbie, Star Wars, L.O.L. Surprise!, and Marvel Universe topping the charts.

According to The NPD Group, toy industry sales across the 12 global markets (G12) tracked by the organization spiked 15% to $22.45 billion in the first six months of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020. More impressively, those numbers amount to a 28% gain vs. the same period in 2019, the last year of the pre-pandemic era.

The U.S. toy industry continues to lead the charge with a 40% sales spike in the first half of 2021 vs. 2019 and a 19% gain vs. 2020.

Toy sales in Germany grew 23% followed by Canada (20%), Belgium (19%), Netherlands (19%), and Russia (19%). Sales in Spain and Brazil declined 10% and 15%, respectively.

What’s hot so far in 2021?

Strategic Trading Card Games have been making headlines this year, so it’s no surprise to learn that the NPD subsegment spiked 136% in the first half of 2021. Lead by Pokémon, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, the category grew from $341.7 million in sales in the first half of 2019 to $805.8 million in the first half of 2021.

All of the 11 toy supercategories tracked by NPD in the G12 have grown thus far in 2021 when compared to 2019 with Games/Puzzles (59%) and Outdoor & Sports Toys (38%) experiencing the highest growth when compared to the pre-pandemic era. Infant, toddler, and preschool toys are hot alongside dolls and building sets. In the U.S., 10 of the 11 supercategories experienced growth.

NPD says that in its 29 subsegments of global toys, only two experienced declines this year vs. 2019: Playset Dolls and Accessories (-34%) and Battling Toys and Playsets (-8%).

In the U.S., additional classic brands, including Hot Wheels, NERF, Little Tikes, and Fisher-Price have also been booming this year.

It’s important to note that NPD’s Global Toys footprint covers Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the U.S.,  but excludes two major regions: China & Australia.