After a modest decline forecast for 2019, total toy industry dollar sales in the US are expected to pick up again in 2020 and continue to the end of 2021.
Supercategories expected to post growth from 2018 to 2021, according to The NPD Group’s latest report, include Action Figures & Accessories, Arts & Crafts, Building Sets, Dolls, Games/Puzzles and Outdoor & Sports Toys.
In 2019, NPD expects the strongest growth to come from Action Figures & Accessories, Dolls, and Games/Puzzles.
Action Figures & Accessories has shown the strongest performance of any supercategory year to date through August 2019, due to strong performance in Action Figures (driven by Toy Story and Fortnite) and Battling Toys & Playsets classes (driven by Bakugan and Beyblade).
While Dolls has only been performing on par with the total toy industry year to date through August, with the two largest brands in the space both growing (L.O.L. Surprise! and Barbie), combined with the release of Frozen II at the end of 2019, NPD expects Dolls to return to growth for 2019.
Games/Puzzles has been relatively flat year to date through August 2019, despite the strong growth in Strategic Trading Cards Games (driven by Pokémon and Magic the Gathering). The consumer trends driving the growth segments within Games/Puzzles include nesting (eg: consumers staying at home for their entertainment), younger and older adults engaging in play, and the social media sharing of noteworthy games which NPD expects to continue to drive growth through 2021.
“The sales trends for the first half of 2019 were distorted because of the comparisons to the first half of 2018, which is when the Toys R Us liquidation sales helped to increase toy industry growth,” said Juli Lennett, vice president and industry advisor, Toys, The NPD Group. “Although sales were down 9% in the first half of this year, the gains in the back half will make up for almost all of those losses. Despite the lingering and minor evaporation from the loss of Toys R Us, the toy industry is poised for growth in 2020 and 2021.”