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NPD: U.S. toy industry grows in 2015 Print Email
Written by Taylor Berglund   
Monday, 01 February 2016 12:11 PM America/New_York

NPD-Group-logoU.S. toy sales grew by 6.7 percent in 2015, according to retail sales data from The NPD Group. The toy industry generated $19.4 billion and marked one of the strongest performances the industry has seen in a number of years.

Content was a key driver behind the growth of the toy industry in 2015. Whether it be a movie (Star Wars, Jurassic World, Minions and Avengers), television show (Paw Patrol), app (Minecraft) or a strong YouTube following (Shopkins), all of these properties with ties to content were top contributors to the growth of the category. Movies in total outperformed the market in 2015, growing by 9.4 percent. With the early release of Star Wars toys on Force Friday, Star Wars managed to become the No. 1 property for the year, with over $700 million in sales. It also brought in more sales and contributed more growth than Jurassic World, Minions and Avengers combined.

Juli Lennett, U.S. toys industry analyst for The NPD Group, commented on the growth.

“The toy industry had an incredible year and, as is typically the case, there isn’t one reason,” Lennet said. “There were a number of factors coming together to grow the industry nearly 7 percent in 2015.”

Nine of the 11 super-categories posted gains in 2015. Games/Puzzles and Vehicles grew the fastest at 10.8 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, followed by Building Sets and Outdoor & Sports Toys. Outdoor & Sports Toys and Dolls had the largest dollar gains, followed by Building Sets and Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys. Star Wars was the No. 1 absolute dollar growth contributor to three of the super-categories: Action Figures, Vehicles and All Other Toys.

With Christmas falling on a Friday in 2015, consumers had one extra day to shop in the week compared to last year. As a result, the week of Christmas (Dec. 20-26) grew 25 percent, and its growth was larger than all the other weeks in Q4 combined. The week of Christmas also represents 8 percent of all toy sales for the year, and is the second-most important week of the year for the toy industry—the week before Christmas being No. 1 at 8.5 percent, illustrating the importance for retailers to stay well-stocked until Christmas Eve.

NPD also announced that the best-selling toy of 2015 was the “Shopkins 12-pack Assortment” from Moose Toys.

“What was especially interesting to see this year among the top 10-selling items was the wide diversity of toys from simple to complex,” Lennett said. “In addition, among the top toys were evergreen properties like Hot Wheels, Barbie, Star Wars and Ninja Turtles as well as relatively new properties like Shopkins, Paw Patrol and Minecraft. Price points were also wide ranging, from under $1 to over $150.”