The toy market is down 5% year to date to the end of September – but things are looking up for the business overall.

That’s the view of the experts at NPD, talking to TnP at the DreamToys launch on November 9 in the heart of London.

Symonds outlined the current state of the play, noting that this year’s figures were again being slightly skewed by 2021’s ongoing lockdowns, which meant some consumers were buying more toys to keep stuck-at-home families entertained.

But despite the overall decline in year-on-year sales, NPD noted that July and August figures were looking positive, while October “looks like it will be up”. Much of the growth in October would come from value sales, while volume was more affected.
Cost of living concerns are starting to come into play too, with non-essential purchases and power-price point items being hit harder than other areas. “Pester power isn’t working,” said Symonds. Similarly, higher ticket items were also being affected, while a sweeter price point of between £20 and £50 was emerging.

NPD was looking forward to this area performing well in the run-up to Christmas, further noting that consumers will be looking for price promotions and other offers during December, particularly during the final push ahead of December 25. Symonds also said the prospect of a Sunday Christmas, with a full week’s shopping ahead of the big day, would give a boost to the market meaning Week 51 would be a “big week”.

The final burst of sales, Melissa Symonds noted, will be in bricks and mortar stores, rather than online. In terms of categories, plush is the fastest growing, and within that, Squishmallows was a star performer, boosted by its TikTok and social media following. Sustainability was increasingly key within this category.

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