Toy industry sales grew by 1 percent in 2017 across the 12 global markets tracked by The NPD Group. Toy sales in the U.S., the world’s largest toy market, grew by 1 percent to $20.7 billion in 2017.
Partially driven by inflation, Mexico and Russia grew the fastest, with sales in these countries up 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The United Kingdom, France, and Australia experienced declines, while sales were flat in Germany and Italy.
All Other Toys, Plush, and Dolls were the fastest-growing supercategories both globally and in the U.S. Globally, All Other Toys grew its sales by 14 percent, driven by fidget toys—which started to grow around Easter and peaked at the end of June—and slime kits. Plush sales increased by 6 percent, with Hatchimals the largest contributor and furReal Friends also showing solid growth. Dolls grew by 5 percent, led by L.O.L. Surprise!. Hatchimals CollEGGtibles was also a notable contributor to the growth in Dolls.
Collectibles have been a leader of growth in the toy industry, driven by blind packs. The global collectibles market grew by 14 percent to $3.9 billion, helped by the international popularity of L.O.L. Surprise!, Hatchimals, and LEGO Minifigures. Collectibles accounted for about 8 percent of total industry dollar sales.
The Games/Puzzles supercategory grew by 3 percent both globally and in the U.S. The bulk of the growth came during the first eight months of the year, mostly due to gains in Pokémon, as a result of the summer 2016 release of Pokémon Go.
Looking at the top three selling toy properties globally and in the U.S., the same players make the list, but in a different order. On the global scale, Star Wars ranked number one, followed by Nerf. In the U.S., Nerf captured the number-one spot, followed by Star Wars, and in both cases Barbie was the third largest property for 2017.