We often think about toys during the holiday season, but the industry sees sales all year long. Toys are an essential part of any childhood experience, but as the statistics show, even adults are getting into the toy industry today and that is pushing sales higher.
The U.S. toy market grew to $18.11 billion in 2014. When all components of the industry are analyzed, the total US industry alone is estimated to be worth $22 billion right now.
Toy Sales Facts
When the sales figures are compared to 2013 numbers, there was a 4% total increase in the toy industry. Although the US industry is seeing growth, from a global perspective toy sales are rather static with about $84 billion.
- 4 different classes of toys say double digit growth in 2014: building sets [13%], action figures [10%], youth electronics [10%], and games/puzzles [10%].
- Only one class of toys saw negative growth in 2014. Infant and preschool toys dipped by 4% from the year before.
- Outdoor sports toys lead the way in the US market with over $3.6 billion in total sales. This is followed by infant and preschool toys [$2.8 billion] and dolls [$2.3 billion].
- The amount of toy vehicles had virtually no change in 2014 over 2013 numbers. Both years saw $1.25 billion in total sales.
- The smallest component of the toy industry are stuffed animals, which saw $940 million in total sales in 2014. That was a 6% increase over the year before.
- More than 250,000 people are employed in the US toy industry and contribute $29 billion to the economy.
- 2016 shows a 5% increase in domestic toy sales from 2015.
In general, the toy industry is doing rather well. Although 2014 has essentially brought back the losses that were experienced in 2013, the overall growth since 2008 has been pretty phenomenal from a global perspective. In 2008, $77.2 billion worth of toys were sold, a full $7 billion less than what was sold in 2014. What will 2015 bring? With weakness in the European economy, the Euro dropping like a rock against the dollar, and only the US economy fueling growth right now, it could be a tough year for global toy sales.
Franchises Are Powering The Toy Industry Today
- $12 billion. That’s how much the Star Wars franchise has contributed in sales to the toy industry.
- Since 1968, more than 4 billion Hot Wheels cars have been produced. The most someone has ever paid for a Hot Wheels car was $72,000. The world’s largest collection of these toys has been valued at over $1 million.
- For every second that passes, there are 2 Barbie dolls that are sold with a target age group being 3-12 year old girls. This accounts for $3 billion of annual sales.
- Rapunzel Barbie was simultaneously launched in 59 different countries when it was released, selling $200 million in total.
- Mattel has annual revenues that average $6.4 billion. Combine with Hasbro, 40% of the total toy market comes from these two companies.
- More than 16 million toys were recalled in the last year from 75 total recall events.
- Despite the worldwide presence of the toy industry, more than 70% of the toys that are purchased every year are manufactured in China.
Only $3 billion of the US toy market is actually exported. Most toys that are made come from China. Why is this? Because parents are looking for the best combination of price and quality that they can find today. This is why brands are driving the toy industry. A good brand generates value by itself and will inspire parents to spend a little more for a good toy that will last.
How Much Are We Spending On Toys?
- The average parent in the US will spend less than $280 on toys per child in the next 12 months.
- In comparison, parents in the UK will spend an average of $499 per child on toys. [Keep in mind that the pound trades for around $1.55-$1.75.]
- On the other hand, the average parent in China will spend just $20 per child on toys.
The toy industry is being driven today by two major players. Those two major players have about 4 major brands. Those brands are seen as having more value to them, so parents flock to them because the toys are attractive and reflective of current trends in film and TV. Yet Chinese parents spend a fraction of the amount everyone else does on toys despite them being manufactured there. That statistic alone is food for thought.