Consumers ages 18 and older accounted for more toy sales in Q1 than any other age group, surpassing preschoolers for the first time

CHICAGO, June 6, 2024 Circana™, the leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior, today announced the U.S. toy retail sales performance results for January through April 2024, revealing insights into the retail trends, performance drivers, and evolving consumer behaviors. Toy industry dollar sales declined by 1% through April, versus the same period in 2023, and outperformed the broader general merchandise sector. Furthermore, toy sales remain 38% ahead of 2019 levels, which equates to $2 billion.

Three of the 11 supercategories posted dollar growth including building sets, led by LEGO Icons; explorative toys, driven by Miniverse; and vehicles, driven by Monster Jam. Coinciding with seasonal boosts from Valentine’s Day and Easter, building sets, plush, and outdoor and sports toys experienced year over year growth based on units sold.

Looking at the overall top-selling toys across the industry for the four-month period, Squishmallows dominated the list of the top 10 selling items. Trading cards led pack for the top 10 new items for 2024 through April, with a heavy emphasis on sports.

Top Selling Toys: YTD April 2024

RankTop ItemsTop New Items*
1Squishmallows Plush 8″ AssortmentNBA 2023 24 Prizm Basketball Blaster Box
2Hot Wheels Singles 1:64 AssortmentDisney Classic Lilo And Stitch
3Squishmallows Plush 16″ AssortmentNFL Absolute Trading Football Blaster 2023
4Icons Bouquet Of RosesPokémon Scarlet And Violet Paldean Fates Collection Tin
5Icons Tiny PlantsPokémon Scarlet And Violet Temporal Forces Elite Trainer Box Iron Leaves
6Squishmallows Plush 12″ AssortmentNFL 2023 Absolute Football Mega Box
7Pokémon Scarlet And Violet Paldean Fates Pokémon Center Elite Trainer BoxPokémon Scarlet And Violet Temporal Forces Sleeved Booster Packs Assortment
8NFL 2023 Trading Cards AssortmentNFL 2023 Prizm Football Hanger Box
9Squishmallows Plush 11″ AssortmentStar Wars R2 D2 25th Anniversary
10Prizm NFL 2023 Football Trading Card Blaster Box 24 CardsDisney Lorcana Into The Inklands Booster Pack
Source: Circana, Retail Tracking Service, U.S. Toys, dollars not adjusted, January-April 2024 *New = no sales in 2023

More adults are getting in on the fun
The adult toy market has been a hot topic since the pandemic and continues to be an opportunistic area. Adults ages 18 and older contributed over $1.5 billion in sales in the first quarter alone – overtaking the 3- to 5-year-old segment to become the most important age group for the toy industry2. In fact, 43% of adults purchased a toy for themselves in the past year, with the top reasons being for socialization, enjoyment, and collecting3.

“We are in a transformative period across retail sectors as consumers navigate high prices and manage their budgets, and while the toy industry is feeling the heat, it is ripe with opportunity,” said Juli Lennett, vice president and toy industry advisor at Circana. “Tailwinds, like the growing adult toy market and spending power of higher income households and grandparents, drive positive trends. However, headwinds like rising household debt, slowing GDP growth, and fluctuating consumer confidence indicate potential challenges. By focusing on innovation and addressing diverse consumer needs, the industry can find the propensity to thrive despite an evolving economic environment.”

Source: Circana, Retail Tracking Service, U.S. Toys, January – April 2024
2 Source: Circana, Checkout Recipient Insights, U.S. Toys, January – March 2024
3 Source: Circana, U.S. Omnibus, May 2024

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