The NPD Group has reported that the trend grew 8% in value in 2017.
The latest figures show that in 2017 even more money was spent on toys by ‘kidults’ – £1 of every £9, or 11% of the overall sector. That represents an increase of 8% year-on-year, and a rise of £30m in value terms since 2016.
But it’s not just Millennials that are buying toys for themselves. “Millennials” (18-34 years old) account for almost half (48%) of the spend among grown-ups buying toys for themselves, while “Generation X-ers” (35-54 years old) account for 28% and “Boomers” (55 years+) account for 24%. Among Millennials, 62% of the money spent on toys for adults is by young parents. Another four in 10 (38%) are not yet into parenthood. Many of this group are fans of pop culture, expressing their fandom by buying toys.
Men are more likely than women to buy toys for themselves especially as they grow older. They represent 55% of Millennials spend on toys, but it rises to two thirds (66%) of Gen X and 70% of Boomers. Whatever the gender, adults clearly favour online when buying toys for themselves. The internet claims 56% of the spend compared to 39% for overall toys and games. But even if Amazon and Tesco have the lion’s share of these sales, kidults tend to buy toys outside the traditional channels, preferring to shop from dedicated specialist websites.
The categories where the ‘kidult’ trend is most prominent are games & puzzles (19% of sales), building sets (15%), action figures (12%) and dolls (11%).
Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst, Toys, NPD, commented: “The wide variety in the toys adults are buying for themselves reveals the many reasons older people buy toys: from playing board games with adult friends to building sophisticated models, drones and robots. And the collectible market has expanded beyond the timeless classics of dolls, plush and action figures to include pop culture models. Rather than a nostalgic trend, I’d say much of this is providing an escape from the stresses and strains of modern day living, fulfilling our need to find down-time. The growing ‘kidult’ trend shows that where manufacturers and retailers can understand and meet the evolving needs of their audiences, they can grow sales in a very competitive and fast-paced sector. That is equally true whether your brand enjoys a strong heritage or features the very latest cool pop culture figure.”