If the British toy market is any indication, digital-savvy kids are still very much engaged in old-fashion toy play. A new report from market research firm The NPD Group shows a 4% increase in retail toy sales over the first three months of 2011, mainly fueled by collectible toys. The trend follows a solid 2010 that saw a 9% increase in revenue growth.
The US$8 to US$16 price point of collectibles has proven to be the most dynamic with an 11% increase in the first quarter, while the biggest new concepts for 2011 so far include Lego Mini Figures, Moshi Monsters figures from Vivid and trading cards from Topps, Spin Master’s Zoobles and Character Group’s Squinkies (pictured). The best new brand according to NPD’s Retail Tracker is currently Lego Ninjago, which includes toys (mini figures), cards and game play (spinning and fighting). The brand is currently on tour meeting children and on TV as a mini cartoon with its own dedicated website.
Contributing to growing sales within the collectibles market is a resurgence of “blind pack” packaging that’s designed to pique a child’s curiosity about what’s inside. For instance, Lego Mini Figures and Vivid Imaginations’ Moshi Monsters are now sold in a foil pack that does not allow the child to see which toy they are buying, which creates excitement and surprise around buying collectible toys.
Star category performers of the 2010 holiday toy market – such as building sets and plush – are still doing well. And while the first quarter of 2011 only represents an estimated 16% of annual sales, NPD believes it is a strong indicator in terms of trends, as many new concepts are launched in the first weeks of the new year.