Multi-Generational Play: Are You Selling to These Critical Customers?

March 6, 2019 | Toy companies have a big opportunity to expand their reach by catering to the different ages of consumers (including kids, adults, and seniors) who love to play, according to an in-depth report by The Toy Association and ProdigyWorks. The report, “Toy Manufacturing and Retail Solutions – the Future,” provides ideas on how the industry can capitalize on the changing marketplace, and appeal to new customers and retain (or increase sales with) existing ones.

“Toy companies and retailers must be willing to leave their comfort zones and explore the changing landscape to successfully move into a new era,” said Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “Toys can and should be for everyone since anyone can benefit from and enjoy play. In particular, multi-generational play presents a rich avenue of potential growth for manufacturers and retailers as Baby Boomers and senior adults look to stay active, both physically and mentally.”

The report notes that designers could develop multi-generational toys and playgrounds that give seniors ways to engage with children physically and intellectually. This would involve collaborating with physical therapists, gerontologists, and others to build products and play spaces that are age- and ability-appropriate for a variety of age groups.

In addition, toys could evolve to include technology that adapts to children as they enter various life stages. The report includes an example of a talking teddy bear that helps a two-year-old learn their numbers and ABCs. As they learn, it would become more advanced, moving to more advanced subjects. The AI technology initially in the bear could stay with the child in other toy forms as he or she grows and is interested in new things and experiences.

These and other examples are included in The Toy Association’s report, where ProdigyWorks futurists identify 12 key opportunities for toy manufacturers and retailers, centered around five themes: “A Toy Diaspora,” “Everybody Plays,” “Experiences,” “Speaking to Consumer Values,” and “Looking Beyond the Thing: Service Opportunities.” As part of a regular series, Toy News Tuesday (TNT) takes a deep-dive into each of these themes. Previously, TNT highlighted opportunities within the Toy Diaspora theme. Later this month, TNT will feature an article exploring the third theme in the series, “Experiences.”

The full ProdigyWorks report is available free to Toy Association members at