NPD: Global Toy Sales Surge as COVID-19 Lockdowns Ease; Online Sales Contribute to U.S. Growth

The following article is based on a press release issued by The NPD Group on July 30, 2020.

backyard-funJuly 31, 2020 | Toy industry sales across 12 global markets increased by 9 percent from January through June compared to the same period in 2019, according to The NPD Group. The U.S. experienced the highest percentage growth at 16 percent, followed by Canada (9%), Germany (9%), the UK (8%), and the Netherlands (6%). All other European countries experienced declines in the first half, though combined sales in Europe were up 1 percent.

According to NPD, COVID-19 impacted the differing results between countries. Europe was the first region outside Asia to be hit by COVID-19 and was strongly impacted by store closures (one-third of European retail relies on the toy specialty channel). As the epicenter of the pandemic moved across the globe, the Latin American market continued to record negative performance. As lockdown measures eased in Europe in early May, the region experienced sales increases of 9 and 11 percent in May and June, respectively. In the U.S., sales were more resilient in the first half of the year largely due to the strength of e-commerce. The U.S. toy industry experienced double-digit monthly growth from March through June, despite lockdown restrictions.

As seen in Q1 of 2020, consumers continued to turn to games and puzzles more than any other supercategory, making it the best performing supercategory in the G12 for the first half of the year (37%). Four other supercategories recorded growth: outdoor & sports toys (27%), building sets (14%), arts & crafts (11%), and explorative & other toys (1%). Disney Frozen, followed by Star Wars, Little Tikes, Barbie, and LEGO Star Wars, were the top gaining toy properties across the G12 in the first half of 2020.

“These results are right in line with what we are hearing from a large number of our members and have seen unfold in both physical and digital toy aisles during the pandemic,” said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “While, we don’t yet know what the next school year will look like for many U.S. children and families, we expect to see toys continue to serve as supplemental tools for aiding the mental and emotional well-being of many Americans in months ahead."

Pasierb added: "We must also remember some categories of toy companies and market segments have not prospered during a time of limited access to local retail, museums, travel, amusement parks, and the like.So these impressive results are welcome while a full recovery from the pandemic remains elusive.”