by KRISTIN MORENCY GOLDMAN, senior communications specialist, The Toy Association

Thanks to a growing array of streaming platforms, kids have more options than ever when it comes to where, when, and how they consume media content. And with about half of kids spending an average of 11.2 hours a week on streaming services, it’s not surprising that digital-first brands and family content creators are impacting toy development, toy purchases, and how kids play.

The above — and additional — findings are available in a recently conducted NPD Group/Toy Association report that surveyed 2,500 U.S. kids (ages 0-14). Available exclusively to The Toy Association members, the “Children & Influencer Platforms Study” dives into how kids are engaging with key influencer platforms (YouTube/YouTube Kids, Facebook, and Instagram) by breaking down the types of content kids watch based on age, how they discovered the content, and why they use each platform. It also explores the content strategies of six (out of 67) of the study’s highest-performing YouTube channels: Ryan’s World, It’s JoJo Siwa, Pinkfong! Kids’ Songs & Stories, PewDiePie, 5-Minute Crafts, and Dude Perfect.

Key Takeaways

1. Toy content is at peak viewership among kids ages 6-9 (62% of YouTube users in this age group watch toy videos), but older kids still show an interest in “play-oriented” videos;

2. 37% of YouTube watchers ages 0-14 first learned about a toy through a video that featured someone playing with it or talking about it; and

3. 63% of kids watching YouTube bought something they saw featured in a video, and it was most likely to be a toy (69% of purchasers bought a toy).

Trends and Play Patterns

“Family content creators are undeniably influential in terms of jumpstarting trends and revealing the latest must-have toys,” says Adrienne Appell, senior director of strategic communications at The Toy Association. “They are even impacting play patterns, as we saw with the unboxing phenomenon that emerged a few years ago. And while movies have historically driven licensed toy sales, streaming platforms are bringing more digital-first characters and stories into the toy aisle than ever. It will be interesting to watch this trend unfold in 2020 and beyond.”

The Toy Association members can access the “Children & Influencer Platforms Study” in the “Industry Reports” section (under the “Research & Data” tab) at The report was also highlighted in a recent webinar with Juli Lennett, vice president and industry advisor of U.S. Toys at The NPD Group. A recording of the webinar is available on The Toy Association website under the Education tab.

Questions about this study and other Toy Association research may be directed to Anne McConnell, senior director of market research and data strategy (

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2020 issue of the Toy Book.