Given the widespread popularity of franchises like Activision’s Skylanders, Disney Infinity and Nintendo amiibo, it should come as no surprise that a new study from The NPD Group finds that US parents view interactive gaming toys as positive investments for their kids.
According to NPD’s new Interactive Gaming Toys report, 70% of parents surveyed in the US are familiar with interactive gaming toys (also known as toys-to-life), with 40% owning items from at least one of the three franchises, and 41% of that group owning more than one franchise.
In terms of dollars spent over the past six months, parents estimated they shelled out an average of US$131 on games and characters from either Skylanders, Disney Infinity or Nintendo amiibo.
Compared to other toys and video games, the perception of their investment was very positive, with 77% saying it was definitely or probably worth the investment. Two-thirds of parents said they were extremely or very likely to purchase a new interactive gaming toy (65%) or a new character (67%) within the next six months.
NPD industry analyst Liam Callahan noted that the study shows consumers are moving from franchise to franchise, but not abandoning the category—a factor that bodes well for new entrants as it demonstrates that consumers are willing to try new products.
Co-play is strong in this type of gaming, with 52% of households indicating that adults (age 18+) are among those that play. Interestingly, among Nintendo amiibo-playing households with kids, 21% of parents stated that only adults are playing with this product.
Among all players, the majority of their time spent with these characters involves playing video games, with just 22% of total character playtime being spent engaged with them in physical toy form alone.
Unsurprisingly, the likelihood of playing with the toys outside of the video game decreases with age. 40% of parents said their 13- to 17-year-olds play with toys-to-life characters, compared to 77% for two to fives.
NPD culled data from an online survey conducted among US parents with at least one child aged two to 17 that ran from March 26 to April 13, 2015. Of the 3,688 parents surveyed, a total of 1,187 parents had at least one child who plays with interactive gaming toys.