How The Pandemic Has Changed The Toy Business And The Latest Trends In Toys


Forbes | April 20, 2021


The toy business, like many industries, has changed dramatically since the pandemic started. James Zahn, Deputy Editor of The Toy Book, Senior Editor of The Toy Insider, shared a number of insights about the industry.


As the pandemic took hold and parents realized they’d be spending more time at home, sales spiked. Toy sales in 2020 were up 16% and the big categories were games and puzzles, dolls and action figures and outdoor play. Licensed toys were less successful because many films never came to theatres. Streaming was a win for Barbie products, releasing new episodes on Netflix to promote products.


Looking ahead to summer, the focus will be on backyard and in-home toys. Ride-on toys will have strong growth and products focused on sustainability, like garbage and recycling trucks, including ones with accessories to teach children about reusability, will be very popular. Water blasters and super soakers with new features will also be popular.


Once fall arrives, it is likely that the more spread out Christmas shopping period that we saw last year will expand even further. Promotions for high-dollar toys will likely start in September. Overall, for 2021, he expects good growth, in the low single digits, but not double digits like 2020. Considering that the growth comes on top of what we saw last year, that’s a pretty good clip for an established industry.


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