The Plush category is enjoying a great year, with Traditional Plush leading the charge and Feature Plush waiting in the wings for its time to shine at Christmas.
In our August issue, Toy World speaks to some leading suppliers in the space to find out what’s driving demand and why this is one category retailers should be cuddling up to this year.
The Plush supercategory is currently up +11% in value, following two consecutive years of strong double-digit growth. It’ll come as no surprise to many that Squishmallows has climbed the ranks to become the No.1 Plush brand, followed by Ty and Zuru’s Rainbocorn, thanks to continued new waves of ‘Squads’ and a strong focus on driving the hunt among fans – a social media dream.
In the first half of the year, Circana reports that sales are largely driven by Traditional Plush (85% of sales, in fact), plush which is simply a squishy filling and cuddly outer and nothing else. It doesn’t get much more traditional than Rainbow Designs’ portfolio, which is full of plush based on childhood classics including Paddington Bear, Peter Rabbit, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Guess How Much I Love You. These properties are beloved by parents and grandparents eager to pass down their adoration to the next generation, often during bedtime routines
Other properties and ranges that lean heavily into generational sentiment include Care Bears, which has grown more than 40% so far this year, and Ty, which in May launched a special range of 30th anniversary Beanie Babies based on some of its most popular first generation characters: Valentino II, Bongo II and Bones II. The trio was followed by Snort II, Peanut II and Squealer II, all of which have been in very high demand since launching.
Elsewhere, Traditional Plush has been getting a 21st-century makeover, with the current anime trend now spilling over into cuddly toys, with PMS International and Posh Paws.
To hear more from these companies and others in the Plush sector, including Happy Lines Toys, which provides children’s hospitals with soft toys, and Mood Bears, which helps children with their mental health, read the full Plush feature here.