The U.S. toy industry grew almost 20 percent in the first half of 2021, up $1.7 billion to $11 billion, according to The NPD Group. The industry saw a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent in both dollars and average selling price from 2018 to 2021, but the CAGR in units was flat during that four-year period.
Ten of the 11 so-called “super-categories” tracked by NPD grew in 2021, led by outdoor and sports toys at $2.9 billion in sales — more than double that of games and puzzles, the second-highest super-category. Outdoor and sports toys grew by $280 million, the biggest bump in the 11 categories. Plush toys had the fastest dollar growth since the same time in 2020, up almost 40 percent.
Water-related toys, playground equipment and skates/skateboards/scooters were among the biggest boosters for outdoor and sports toys. Arts and crafts was the only super-category to drop in the last 12 months, down 1 percent overall, as craft kits — which make up 42 percent of the super-category — saw a significant decline.
The two stimulus checks boosted toy sales in the first quarter of the year, and the expanded child tax credit, which began on July 15, is expected to pay dividends in the second half of the year.
The industry report comes just a week after toy retail giants Hasbro and Mattel reported their quarterly results.
For Mattel, dolls, including Barbie, saw $395 million in gross billings in the three months ending June 30, a 51 percent jump versus 2020; Barbie alone grew 41 percent. Vehicles, including Hot Wheels, had $266 million in gross billings, a 68 percent increase based on increased in-store impulse buying. Hot Wheels alone grew 61 percent.
Hasbro’s second-quarter revenue was $1.3 billion, up 54 percent compared to 2020 and 9 percent compared to 2019. The Rhode Island-based company said consumer products revenue grew 33 percent year over year, driven by Nerf, Transformers and Play-Doh products, as well as the Marvel and Star Wars franchises.
Still, global sales declined by mid-single digits as toys saw increased demand — but games, including Monopoly, saw a decrease after last year’s pandemic-induced board game frenzy.
The digital gaming business, which also includes the Wizards of the Coast brand, saw explosive quarterly growth, with revenue jumping nearly 118 percent versus 2020 to $406 million.