Adults keep toy sales humming
The Future. Adults who buy toys are quickly becoming one of the most consequential customers for toy companies, flexing their fandom on Star Wars action figures and increasing their spending on pricey Lego sets. With collector’s items becoming something of an asset class over the pandemic, buying toys may be one of the most adult things to do.
Legos for all ages
Adults love their toys.
- NBC reports that the cohort described as “kidults” (anyone over 12) are responsible for a fourth of all annual toy sales — a figure of about $9 billion, according to The NPD Group.
- And they are the fastest-growing spenders in the space, increasing their spend by 60% over the past year.
And although inflation has contributed to a 3% decline in the total amount of toys sold, toymakers offset those losses by raising prices, which rose by 3%. Why’s that data important? It means that kidults, who reportedly are happy to spend significantly on themselves, will still open their wallets for toys as prices go up.
What drives the toy love for kidults is a desire to express their fandom for the stories of their youth.
- It all started with 1977’s Star Wars when licensed merchandising was first put into high gear. That merchandising effect then spread to other 70s and 80’s kid-favorite franchises, such as Marvel and DC.
- Then over the past decade, those franchises catapulted again into the mainstream with new movies and shows, so the licensed toys went back into production in a big way.
- And the toy companies have taken notice of the adult-customer boom, catering products to an older generation. Meanwhile, Lego, Hasbro, and Mattel are releasing lines for kidults.
Meanwhile, Funko has blown up in popularity, which was pretty much always geared toward adult collectors. Future toy startups may create a successful business by catering exclusively to older teens and adults.