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US sales of outdoor & sports toys sizzle

Overall US toy sales were up 19% in the first half of the year, driven by growth in all categories, but especially water toys, according to new data from NPD.
August 6, 2021

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.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at



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