Kidult Consumers Offer Brands New Avenues of Growth

July 19, 2022 | The first in-person San Diego Comic-Con since 2019 is just days away, and with the shifting landscape of entertainment viewing over the past three years, the legions of fans that support their favorite brands and characters has only grown. Toy and game brands are finding new areas of opportunity as they look beyond creating product just for kids by also designing toys for both hard-core adult collectors and casual “kidult” fans.

The Toy Association’s Jennifer Lynch joined Fox & Friends on July 16 to highlight a sampling of Toy Association member products designed for kidults and their various fandoms. Products included a LEGO Technic Daytona Ferrari SP3 and a Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck R/C for car enthusiasts, a Beatles-edition of Magna-Tiles for music lovers, and toys inspired by new content from Netflix and Disney+ programming like a Stranger Things Season 4 Lite-Brite set and an interactive Obi-Wan Kenobi LO-LA59 (LOLA) droid, respectively.

“As our own research has confirmed, 58 percent of today’s parents agree: toys aren’t just for kids,” said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of marketing communications. “Parents have experienced firsthand the value of play for themselves and their families over the past few years, and while budgets may have shrunk since the height of the pandemic, the desire to invest in play stuck with them.”

Emphasizing the trend’s staying power, The Toy Foundation’s Toy of the Year Awards will unveil the next Grown-Up Toy of the Year during a TOTY Awards & Opening Night Party on September 20, night one of The Toy Association’s Preview & Holiday Market in Dallas, TX. The category debuted in 2021 in response to the rising trend and includes toys and games developed primarily for grown-ups/kidults and fueled by fandoms, social media, and adult humor.

The Toy Association’s trends team will also continue to monitor kidult consumer habits as it maps out next year’s top toy & play trends, to be unveiled during an exciting new March 2023 media event developed in partnership with Adventure Media & Events. Companies exhibiting at the Preview & Holiday Market (September 20 to 22) are encouraged 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 briefing.