Mid-Year Trend Update
Generations of Play Update
More families are playing together out of necessity amid stay-at-home orders, school closures, camp cancelations, etc. Parents are turning their homes into play centers, and their backyards into mini aquatic parks and playgrounds. Even adults without kids are using play as a diversion and stress reliever – and to socialize with friends from afar (think: Zoom game nights with friends). NPD’s mid-year sales figures for toys reflect this trend, with categories like games and puzzles (+37 percent) and outdoor & sports toys (+27 percent) showing strong gains in the first half of 2020.
The Genius of Play’s research has shown that play can be a valuable coping mechanism for all ages during stressful times. Even as stay-at-home orders lift and businesses and schools reopen, we expect the “Generations of Play” trend to grow, with many having experienced first-hand how playing together can unite family members of all ages and bring happiness into the home. Examples: toys that are skill-building, toys that offer extended play value, playthings that incorporate learning, active/outdoor toys, board games & puzzles, coloring books and crafts, toys based on family-friendly properties, etc.
Educational Toy Trends
Naturally, educational tools, resources, and toys have soared in popularity, with many parents now wearing the “teacher hat” due to school closures. Parents have been stocking up on materials to homeschool their kids and are turning to toys to enrich their children’s learning and development. Incorporating “fun” into at-home learning is an absolute necessity since it can break up the monotony for both parents and kids and keep kids motivated and engaged while apart from their teachers and friends. Examples: arts & crafts, science kits, STEM/STEAM toys, tech/robotics, role play toys (cooking, baking, gardening, etc.)
Parents are in the driver’s seat when it comes to picking out toys and games. They are often shopping alone (whether online or in stores), thus limiting the number of impulse purchases stemming from kids’ overt asks at the checkout counter, and do not spend a lot of time browsing. Money might also be tight, so they are focused on practicality and functionality rather than frivolity. They are making well-thought out purchases for toys and games that will keep their kids occupied for longer and engage them in educational/hands-on play. Examples: building toys, family games, active toys, creative toys, etc.
Kids’ Wish Lists
In Q4, parent-driven purchases will take a backseat as kids begin making their holiday wish lists. In light of this, we expect to see a resurgence of some of the formerly popular categories like collectibles, plush, action figures, and dolls.