SHANGHAI, March 16, 2023 –Toy industry e-commerce sales in China decreased by 2.8% to $4.8 billion (USD) in 2022 versus 2021, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group. This compares to a flat performance (i.e., 0.5% growth) online and in stores across the other 12 global markets tracked by NPD, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. Although sales declined in China last year, they increased 4.2% when compared to 2020; and the average sales price increased 1.4% in 2022, with fourth quarter sales experiencing the highest increase, at 8%. 

“In 2022, the pandemic continued to have a significant impact on China’s toy market, illustrated by the fact that 54% of consumers claimed both their online and offline shopping were impacted,” said Stanley Kee, senior vice president and managing director, APAC, Circana. “However, as all restrictions related to COVID-19 lifted at the end of 2022, the market has already shown its resilience with increases in both shopping and traveling at the beginning of this year, especially during the Chinese New Year holiday.”

China’s three best-performing toy supercategories in 2022 were explorative and other toys, games and puzzles, and plush toys, increasing 8%, 9%, and 5%, respectively. Category trends were slightly different from countries other than China, where plush toys, and explorative and other toys were also growing, year over year, but where games and puzzles saw declines. The top-gaining toy categories included standard building sets, traditional plush toys, and preschool kitchen & food. 

E-commerce sales of licensed toys in 2022 increased 3.1% versus 2021, and 28.5% versus 2020, with Ultraman being the top-selling license. Other top-selling licenses included Disney and Lamborghini. Two of the fastest-growing licenses in China included Sanrio Characters and the Chinese cartoon license, Super JoJo, with year-over-year growth of 274%, and 190%, respectively.

“The Chinese e-commerce toy market remains a huge growth opportunity for global toy manufacturers despite a slight correction in 2022,” said Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at Circana. “There is appetite for western lifestyle toys in the country as proven by the success of some of the western household names such as The LEGO Group, or Disney.”

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