HoliDAY of Play 2015

Jazwares Receives Toys “R” Us Vendor of the Year Award for 2014

jazwaresJazwares has been named a recipient of the 2014 Toys “R” Us Vendor of the Year Award. Toys “R” Us distributes the annual award to business partners that have helped the retailer become a resource for kids, families, and fun. [Read more...]

Lego Builds Tenth Consecutive Year of U.S. Toy Market Growth

Lego LogoLego Systems Inc. achieved U.S. consumer sales growth for the tenth consecutive year in 2014. The company increased its overall U.S. toy market share to end 2014 in its strongest position ever in U.S. toys. [Read more...]

Moose Toys Unveils One-of-a-Kind Shopkins Character at Toy Fair

Shopkins,GemmaStoneTo celebrate the launch of Shopkins Season Three, Moose Toys will reveal a character made entirely out of crystal, Gemma Stone, at the upcoming North American International Toy Fair. Following its appearance, the crystal Shopkin will be auctioned off online later this year, with proceeds benefiting the Toy Industry Foundation. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Disney Frozen Poised to Dominate Again, or, We Welcome Our New Toy Overlords from Arendelle

FrozenFever2It’s the age of Frozen, and not just because of this freezing weather we’ve been having.

If you work in the toy industry, you’re probably familiar with Disney Frozen as a powerhouse license. According to data from The NPD Group, it was the top gainer among all toy properties last year, generating $531 million in toy sales across more than 39 categories. This is well and good for the toy companies fortunate enough to have partnered up with Team Elsa. On the flip side, if recent events are any indication, not having the license for Disney Frozen has the potential to be hazardous. [Read more...]

Average Time Spent Playing Games on Mobile Devices Increases 57 Percent Since 2012

NPDGrouplogoAccording to Mobile Gaming 2014, the latest report from The NPD Group, those who play on a smartphone, iPod touch, or tablet are playing more often and for longer periods of time than two years ago. In fact, the average time spent playing during a typical day has increased 57 percent, to more than two hours per day in 2014 versus one hour and 20 minutes in 2012. [Read more...]

Retail Toy Sales Up 4 Percent on Building Sets, Electronics, Frozen, Says NPD Group

NPDGrouplogoAccording to retail sales data from The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $18.08 billion last year compared to $17.46 billion in 2013, an increase of 4 percent.

Retail sales over the 2014 holiday shopping season got off to a bumpy start, with the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday experiencing mixed results of -2 percent and 1 percent (compared to the same time periods in 2013). However, with one extra shopping day the week of Christmas compared to last year, Christmas week grew 27 percent, lifting December growth to 6 percent. Meanwhile, fourth quarter sales were up 3 percent for the 13 weeks starting October 5 through the week ending January 3. [Read more...]

TIA to Host Webinar on Technology’s Impact on Future Play Trends

Toy_Industry_Association_Inc_logoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) will host a webinar, From PDA to Pandora: A Decade of Technology Disruption and How it Affects the Family, on December 10. The one-hour webinar will provide an overview of trends in consumer electronics ownership among families—and how technology is expected to impact future play trends.

Russ Crupnick, consultant at The NPD Group and managing partner of MusicWatch Inc., will present the webinar, which will be moderated by Anne McConnell, TIA director of market research and data strategy. Crupnick will highlight key trends from NPD’s Kids & CE reports from the last 10 years, as well as provide a recap of his presentation at PlayCon last spring, which addressed the impact of technology in the toy market.

Webinar participants will learn key trends in consumer electronics ownership and usage; what influences families to purchase tech devices for children, how the products are used, and how adoption varies by age and gender; how technology fragments toy and play customers and impacts different segments of the customer base; and how technology changes shopping and discovery habits—and how marketers need to adapt.

The webinar is free for TIA members and $49 for non-members. Registration is required. Questions from participants may be submitted in advance to TIA’s Jackie Retzer at, and answers will be folded into the presentation when possible. The session will be recorded and available post-event for those who are unable to participate live.

COMMENTARY: Nintendo Is Game for Playing in the Toy World

amiibo.largerversionSince the 1980s, Nintendo has always seemed to be the “family-friendly” choice in video games. With wholesome characters such as Mario and Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Toad, and bad guys that make you laugh more often than they scare you (except for Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros. game on NES—he was straight up scary), Nintendo has always given off a welcoming, family-friendly vibe, with games available for kids of all ages, and systems and controllers that are intuitive rather than intimidating.

Despite knowing this—and being a Nintendo fan my whole life—it still caught me a bit off-guard when Nintendo announced that it would be launching amiibo, which are action-figures designed to connect and interact with compatible games. “By holding the amiibo over your Wii U GamePad, you’ll open up new experiences within each corresponding game,” reads the Nintendo website. [Read more...]

Kids’ Usage of Smartphones and Tablets Outpaces Other Electronics, Says NPD

NPDGrouplogoAccording to Kids and CE: 2014, the latest report from The NPD Group, kids’ usage of smartphones and media tablets outpaces their usage of all other consumer electronic devices in U.S. households.

Seventy-one percent of households with a child ages 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone this year, up from 55 percent two years ago. Furthermore, incidence of ownership of media tablets doubled between 2012 and this year, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. Among those with kids in the household, 35 percent said that their child uses a smartphone, up from 21 percent two years ago. For media tablets, the figure was 31 percent, up from 13 percent two years ago.

As far as personal ownership of consumer electronic devices among children ages 4 to 14, portable devices were the only device group to exhibit steady increases in ownership among the children themselves. Incidence of personal ownership of cell phones—including traditional cell phones and smartphones—held steady at 19 percent this year. [Read more...]

August Video Game Sales Up Year-over-Year, but New Software Launches Show Weakness

NPDGrouplogoAccording to analysis from The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan, overall new physical retail sales of video game hardware, software, and accessories increased by 8 percent this August over the same month last year. These overall sales also followed a similar pattern as prior months, with explosive hardware growth driven by eighth generation consoles offsetting declines in software.

For August, overall hardware sales doubled from the same month last year, caused by a more than 200 percent increase in console hardware sales with continued strong sales of eighth generation hardware, including Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One. Eighth generation hardware represented close to 70 percent of August’s hardware sales—the highest percentage share since the release of the Xbox One and PS4 last November.

As far as software, new launches in August declined 41 percent compared to last August, due to poor comparisons between titles. Eight of the top 10 games last August were new launches, compared to only three during this past August. Madden NFL 15 was the number one game in August, with growth over last August’s Madden NFL 25.