New data from research firm The NPD Group shows that the US toy industry generated US$21.6 billion in sales in 2018, a 2% decline over 2017. The drop follows four straight years of growth, and could be partially attributed to Toys “R” Us shuttering its operations in the US and multiple global markets. However, The NPD Group reports that annual sales in 2018 were slightly higher than in 2016.
The Action Figures & Accessories category showed the most upward movement last year, with sales increasing by 10% on the strength of Jurassic World, Marvel Universe and Beyblade. Dolls weren’t far behind (up 7%), driven by top performers L.O.L. Surprise! (pictured), Barbie and Hatchimals. Also showing growth, sales for Youth Electronics and Arts & Crafts both increased by 3% last year.
The NPD Group reports that Plush and Vehicles saw the biggest declines, with sales in both categories dropping 10% in 2018. Other Toys (-6%), Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys (-5%), Building Sets (-5%), Outdoor & Sports Toys (-4%) and Games/Puzzles (-1%) were also down year over year.
The 10 top-selling traditional toy items of the year included eight L.O.L. Surprise! products, as well as Mattel’s Hot Wheels Singles 1:64 Assortment and Barbie Dreamhouse. The NPD Group’s data is representative of retailers that participate in its Retail Tracking Service, which is estimated to represent approximately 78% of the US retail toy market.