As temperatures rose across the US this year, so did sales in outdoor and sports toys. Between January and June 2021, US sales in the supercategory increased by 11% compared to the same period in 2020. The US$280-million surge was driven by strong sales of water-related toys, scooters, skateboards and playground equipment, according to market research firm The NPD Group.
The 11% bump was the largest dollar gain of all 11 supercategories, and put outdoor and sports toys at the top in total sales with US$2.9 billion. It was the latest quarter in consistent growth for outdoor playthings—in fiscal 2020 the supercategory grew by nearly 30% generating US$5.35 billion in sales.
As for the overall US toy industry, sales in the first half of the year were up 19% (US$1.7 billion) to US$11 billion. All but the arts and crafts supercategy (which declined 1%) saw gains so far this year.
Games and puzzles—the second largest supercategory—and building sets continued to sell well despite the end of lockdowns with 17% and 23% increases, respectively. Interestingly, plush delivered the biggest dollar hike (up 39%) despite only ranking eighth in total sales. Explorative toys and action figures also saw large gains, up 38% and 35%, respectively.
The top-10 properties in terms of US sales for January to June 2021 were Pokémon, Barbie, Star Wars, L.O.L. Surprise!, Fisher-Price, Marvel Universe, Hot Wheels, Little Tikes, Nerf, and LEGO Star Wars.