Adults love their toys

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The Future. Adults, not kids, are the ones who want toys this Christmas. As kids gravitate to screens, adults want to reconnect with the tangible interests of their own childhoods. The surge in demand could be a lifesaver for the struggling toy industry… and may even pique the interest of kids who have grown up in an era when playing with action figures or dolls isn’t as cool as it used to be.

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Axios found teenagers and adults who like cartoons, action figures, board games, building sets, and puzzles (aka “kidults”) are driving toy sales.

  • The Toy Association reported 41% of parents have bought toys for themselves in the past year.
  • During the holiday season, 43% said they’ll buy toys for themselves, while 89% said they’ll buy them for another adult.
  • Adult interest in toys has been sparked by a wave of nostalgia fueled by the popularity of collecting during COVID and new theatrical releases like Barbie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.
  • And now, those adults want to share their favorite childhood toys with their kids… which just so happens to reignite their own love for them.

Toymakers have been pivoting to meet the moment — Lego’s “Icons” series has complex products meant to be displayed, Mattel is in full-on Barbie marketing mode as the movie breaks records, and even McDonald’s has rolled out Happy Meals aimed at parents.

But it’s important to not leave grandma out of the fun — “eldertainment” is also taking toy stores by storm, with things like animatronic pets and updated versions of board games like Trivial Pursuit becoming favored stocking stuffers.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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