58 Percent of Parents Report Buying Toys for Themselves, Aligning with Toy Association Trend Forecast

June 21, 2022 | In the face of shipping disruptions and inflation troubles, catering to older consumers in the toy aisles has offered many manufacturers and retailers an unexpected bright spot and area of growth and opportunity.

On June 17, Bloomberg featured various Toy Association members, including Basic Fun!, Exploding Kittens, LEGO, and Razor, that are doubling down on the trend and showcasing how they will continue to roll out product and marketing tailored specifically to this older toy audience. Products range from Razor’s new adult-sized electric scooter to a Van Gogh LEGO set that replicates the artist’s iconic Starry Night painting and Basic Fun’s Lite-Brite Wall Art sets that let users create pop art-inspired room décor for their homes. Toymakers also expressed optimism that the kidult consumer base will hold even as toy sales begin to dip from pandemic-level growth.

The Toy Association first identified this trend catering to “kidult” consumers in its Not Just for Kids trend at the start of 2021, and Bloomberg included the results of an Association survey of more than 2,000 parents across the U.S. that found 58 percent reported buying toys and games for themselves and not just their kids. Of the types of toys and games parents reportedly purchased for themselves, board games ranked highest (65%), followed by arts & crafts and building sets (61%), collectibles (53%), and video games (53%).

Highlighting the staying power of this trend, the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards recently debuted the Grown-Up Toy of the Year category, which includes toys and games developed primarily for grown-ups/kidults and often fueled by fandoms, social media, and adult humor.

“Adults playing and collecting is not a brand-new trend, but we saw a surge in the number of adults who turned to play for entertainment and to de-stress during the pandemic,” said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “Now that we’re on the other side of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, the benefits of play at any age are well ingrained in many adults.”

To stay up to date on the latest toy trends, including those tied to the adult consumer, be sure to register for The Toy Association’s 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market, taking place September 20 to 22 in Dallas, Texas. Exhibiting companies are also invited to book an appointment with The Toy Association’s trends team to put their long-lead playthings on the team’s radar ahead of its 2023 trends unveiling at a media event next March.