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Adults are even more en masse than kids at the toy section.

For the first time ever, adults purchased more toys for themselves last quarter than any other age group, even exceeding the traditionally strong preschooler sector.

For the first time ever, adults purchased more toys for themselves last quarter than any other age group, even exceeding the traditionally strong preschooler sector.
For the first time ever, adults purchased more toys for themselves last quarter than any other age group, even exceeding the traditionally strong preschooler sector.

According to a new analysis from market research firm Circana, consumers who are 18 years of age and older spent $1.5 billion on toys during the January through April period, surpassing the three- to five-year-old demographic as the most significant age group for the toy sector.

 

Taking a broader view, the study found that up to 43% of adults bought a toy for themselves in the previous year, with the main motivations being collecting, socializing, and personal enjoyment.

According to the research, among the most sought-after toy products at that time were trading cards, sports toys, Lego sets, and Squishmallows, which are popular with people of all ages.

The increasing trend of adults playing with toys is encouraging since it could help offset the overall fall in toy sales. According to Circana, dollar sales in the toy business increased 38% in comparison to 2019, even if they decreased by 1% through April compared to the same period last year.

Squishmallows are among the most sought-after toys across age groups.

Positive trends are driven by tailwinds, such as the expanding adult toy market and the purchasing power of grandparents and higher-income households, according to a report by Circana vice president and toy industry advisor Juli Lennett. Headwinds, including mounting family debt, sluggish GDP expansion, and volatile consumer confidence, however, point to possible difficulties.

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Toys are an important aspect of “adulting.”

Although adults have traditionally purchased toys for themselves, thanks in part to the collector market for toys like Barbie and Hot Wheels, industry analysts claim that throughout the past five years, this once-niche market has become more mainstream.

According to James Zahn, Editor in Chief of Trade at The Toy Book, “people wanted to reconnect with the toys that made them happy as kids during the pandemic, when people were flush with cash and had time to spend at home, whether with their families or alone.” Zahn made this statement in an interview with CNN.

However, those who were already avid collectors of toys increased their level of interest. He declared, “We’re talking about everything, including diecast cars, action figures, and dolls.” In addition to collectibles, adult curiosity is also being piqued by board games, Lego building sets, and trading cards, which are currently quite popular again.

He claimed that several toy companies are now releasing new items intended only for adult consumers.

“The top two new items that came out in the action figure category from January through April were both things that kids are not going to buy,” Zahn stated. The Hasbro X-Men 97 Marvel Legends action figure set, which is based on an animated series aimed at an adult audience, is the top item.

 

Hasbro’s Clone Caption Rex role-playing helmet from Star Wars: The Black Series is the second most talked-about new product of the time. He described it as a $130 collectible that resembles a movie prop.

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Lego sets have taken on the role of traditional modeling kits, which were traditionally favored by elderly consumers.

“Creating something of your own as an adult has a new format—a building set instead of a traditional model kit—that is very therapeutic,” Zahn explained. “A lot of that 18 and older market goes to Lego.”

More adults are buying more Lego building sets for themselves.

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