Global toy sales increased 30% compared to pre-pandemic sales in 2019

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., November 8, 2022 – Across the 12 global markets tracked by The NPD Group, toy industry sales increased by 2%, reaching $36.7 billion for the year to date through September 2022 compared to the same period last year. Sales revenue rose 30% when compared to the $28.3 billion generated in 2019 before the pandemic.

According to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, which reports on toy sales in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States (but not China), sales increased in seven countries, but declined by 2% in France, 5% in Germany and UK, and 7% in Belgium. Brazil toy sales revenue increased by 23% and Mexico grew 13%, followed by Spain, Canada, U.S., Italy, and Australia.

Overall unit sales volume declined by 4% for the year to date, volumes recovered in September in the U.S., Spain, and Australia. “Three-quarters of toy sales unit growth in September came from Brazil and Mexico, where sales of 2022 World Cup Panini merchandise have had a tremendous impact,” said Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at NPD. “The timing of the World Cup could affect some markets in the run up to the holiday season this year.”

Of the 11 toys supercategories tracked by NPD, six experienced sales increases versus 2021. Plush toys enjoyed the highest growth, increasing by 32%, followed by action figures and accessories at 12%, explorative and other toys at 10%, and building sets at 5%. Outdoor and sports toys and dolls had the largest sales declines, falling by 7% and 8%, respectively. 

The three fastest growing subclasses during the year to date were non-strategic cards and stickers, followed by traditional plush toys, and action figures and collectibles. Growth in all three subclasses were driven by kids and adult collectors. The top declining subclass, skates and skateboards, fell 30% versus last year. 

Looking at the five best-selling toy properties this year through September, Pokémon was the largest, followed by Star Wars, Barbie, Marvel Universe, and Hot Wheels. Licenses continue to drive sales growth globally with 29.8% of dollar sales, up 2% year over year, and 5% over 2019.

“Unlike many other categories which grew tremendously during the pandemic and then saw sales drop dramatically post-COVID, the global toy market continues to perform and maintain an elevated level of sales,” Tutt said. “As we approach the final quarter of the year, seeing a 2% revenue growth is encouraging for the industry. Once again, toys and games prove their resilience against political and economic uncertainties.”

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