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US Traditional Toys and Games market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Traditional Toys and Games market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

The Report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Traditional Toys and Games– US, April 2014. For the purpose of this Report, traditional toys and games include the following product segments:

  • Action figures
  • Toy vehicles (eg trucks, boats, planes)
  • Outdoor-related toys excluding bikes (eg scooters, swing sets)
  • Sports-related toys (eg basketball, baseball bats)
  • Dolls and related toys (eg doll clothes and accessories, dollhouses)
  • Arts and crafts (eg clay, crayons)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Building sets (eg LEGOs, wood blocks)
  • Puzzles
  • Card or board games
  • Electronic developmental and learning toys (ie kids-specific learning systems).

This Report does not include coverage of video games, online games, or mobile games.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Dana Macke, a leading analyst in the Retail & Apparel sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The toy market totals an estimated $26.2 billion in 2016 and has experienced strong growth in the past two years. This trajectory is likely to continue into 2017 given the positive economic climate and the anticipated release of new installments in movie franchises popular with kids. Character merchandising is an important component of growth, but toy companies are also looking to integrate new technologies such as robotics and augmented reality into their products to delight shoppers. Dana Macke
Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The issues
            • Increased online shopping creates new challenges for toy retailers and manufacturers
              • Figure 1: Retailers shopped, July 2018
            • Not all consumers are comfortable with generic or unknown brands
              • Figure 2: Preferences for and attitudes toward buying, by age of children by parental status by gender, July 2018
            • The opportunities
              • Nontraditional retailers have a chance to win more toy shoppers
                • Figure 3: Retailers shopped, July 2018
              • Encouraging adults to have fun
                • Figure 4: Reasons for buying, July 2018
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Positive growth trend fueled by interest and universal types of toys
                  • Which retailers will take over the category?
                    • Children influence purchases, but their decreased presence will impact the market
                    • Market Size

                      • An interest in the category makes for promising growth
                        • Figure 5: Total US retail sales of traditional toys and games, at current prices, 2013-23
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • Outdoor sets, dolls, and games remain the largest segments
                        • Figure 6: Share of sales by type of toy/game, 2015 and 2017
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Competitive landscape changes create opportunities for other retailers
                        • Amazon and mass most likely to benefit
                          • How will toy shopping evolve?
                          • Market Factors

                            • Children will represent a smaller piece of the population
                              • More spending money could contribute to sales growth, spiking during the holidays
                                • Figure 7: Median household income, by age of householder, 2016
                              • Driving category interest through social media
                                • Figure 8: Daily usage of four or more social media services, by age, February 2018
                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                              • Consumers like the classic and familiar
                                • Familiarity could create challenges for generic or unknown brands
                                  • The new toy destination has yet to be determined
                                  • What’s Working?

                                    • Classics remain popular, thanks to modern day makeovers
                                      • Figure 9: Amazon email campaign, February 2018
                                      • Figure 10: Walmart email campaign, August 2018
                                    • Shoppers gravitate to familiar characters
                                      • Figure 11: Preferences for buying, by select demographics, July 2018
                                    • Encouraging adults to join the fun
                                      • Figure 12: Reasons for buying, by age and gender, July 2018
                                      • Figure 13: Amazon email campaign, June 2018
                                  • What’s Struggling?

                                    • Preference for the familiar could challenge future growth of lesser-known brands
                                      • Figure 14: Preferences for buying, by select demographics, July 2018
                                      • Figure 15: Target email campaign, September 2018
                                  • What’s Next?

                                    • The battle for future toy sales will continue, starting with the holiday season
                                      • Figure 16: Walmart email campaign, September 2018
                                    • Will a desire for shared experiences override the desire for toys?
                                      • Figure 17: Cost plus world market email campaign, February 2018
                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                    • Some toys are purchased for all ages
                                      • Toys aren’t just for gifts; entertainment and rewards also motivate purchases
                                        • Competitors edge out toy stores as the top destinations
                                          • Friends and family, product features influence purchase decisions
                                            • Consumers seek the familiar, while using toys to gift and encourage
                                            • Items Purchased and Item Recipients

                                              • Items that can be enjoyed by all are most popular purchases
                                                • Figure 18: Items purchased, July 2018
                                              • Dolls, figures, and plush are most popular for kids
                                                • Activity-based items are most popular with adults
                                                  • Figure 19: Item recipients – Net, July 2018
                                                  • Figure 20: Item recipients, July 2018
                                                • Young adults just want to have fun
                                                  • Figure 21: Item recipients, by gender and age, July 2018
                                                • Moms buy for a variety of reasons, while dads shop based on their interests
                                                  • Figure 22: Items purchased, by parental status by gender, July 2018
                                                • Hispanic consumers buy many types of toys
                                                  • Figure 23: Items purchased, by Hispanic origin, July 2018
                                              • Reasons for Buying

                                                • Gifting and rewarding are top reasons for buying
                                                  • Figure 24: Reasons for buying, July 2018
                                                • Adults without children worth targeting
                                                  • Figure 25: Reasons for buying, by parental status, July 2018
                                                • Younger children prompt educational and impulsive purchases
                                                  • Figure 26: Reasons for buying, by children in the household, July 2018
                                                • Black consumers are motivated by price and educational value
                                                  • Figure 27: Reasons for buying, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2018
                                              • Retailers Shopped

                                                • Mass and Amazon are top toy destinations
                                                  • Figure 28: Retailers shopped – Net, any shopping, July 2018
                                                • Some parents shop toy stores, while also visiting mass and Amazon
                                                  • Figure 29: Retailers shopped, by age of children in the household, July 2018
                                                • Most consumers are already buying toys online
                                                  • Figure 30: Retailers shopped online, by generation, July 2018
                                                • Multicultural consumers favor value-based retailers and toy stores
                                                  • Figure 31: Retailers shopped – Net any shopping, July 2018
                                              • Purchase Influencers

                                                • Children, peers, and features are most influential
                                                  • Figure 32: Purchase influencers – Net, any rank, July 2018
                                                • Wish lists and special events capture children’s interests and make shopping easier for everyone
                                                  • Figure 33: Purchase influencers, by children in household, July 2018
                                                • Younger generations influenced by media and outside sources
                                                  • Figure 34: Purchase influencers, by generation, July 2018
                                                • Black shoppers influenced by traditional sources
                                                  • Figure 35: Purchase influencers, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2018
                                              • Preferences for Buying

                                                • Preferences for buying familiar, traditional, and ethically similar products
                                                  • Figure 36: Preferences for buying, July 2018
                                                • Dads seek the familiar, while moms prefer tradition
                                                  • Figure 37: Preferences for buying, by parental status by gender, July 2018
                                                • Younger children prompt a preference for claims and characters
                                                  • Figure 38: Preferences for buying, by children in the household, July 2018
                                              • Attitudes toward Toys and Games

                                                • Toys are good for encouragement and gifting
                                                  • Figure 39: Attitudes toward toys and games, July 2018
                                                • Those without children see the value of toys
                                                  • Figure 40: Attitudes toward toys and games, by parental status by gender, July 2018
                                                • Single parents and moms interested in trade-in opportunities
                                                  • Figure 41: Attitudes toward toys and games, by select demographics, July 2018
                                                  • Figure 42: Babies “R” us email campaign, March 2018
                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                • Data sources
                                                  • Sales data
                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                      • Direct marketing creative
                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                        • Appendix – The Market

                                                            • Figure 43: Total US retail sales of traditional toys and games, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                            • Figure 44: population by age, 2013-2023
                                                            • Figure 45: Households, by presence and ages of own children, 2017
                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                            • Figure 46: Retailers shopped, in-store versus online, July 2018
                                                            • Figure 47: Purchase influencers, by parental status, July 2018
                                                            • Figure 48: Purchase influencers, July 2018