Retail toy sales in the U.S. fell two percent in 2018. The small decline follows four consecutive years of growth, and comes as positive news considering the liquidation of Toys “R” Us and the loss of many other retail locations last year.
U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.6 billion in 2018 compared to $22.0 billion in 2017. The NPD Group released its annual sales data, revealing gains across several categories that offset other areas where sales were soft. As the NPD Group’s Juli Lennett predicted in a guest column last fall, the sky never fell because both toymakers and retailers were re-energized to capture business and make the holiday season a success. And, despite the fact that consumers heard bad news on a daily basis, the constant mention of Toys “R” Us helped keep toys and the importance of play on the radar for many American families.
Sales performance across supercategories in 2018 showed mixed results, with four out of 11 posting growth. Gains were seen in action figures and accessories, followed by dolls, youth electronics, and arts and crafts.
Annual 2018 U.S. Toy Industry Performance
|Supercategory||Dollar Percent Change|
|Action Figures & Accessories||+10 percent|
|Youth Electronics||+3 percent|
|Arts & Crafts||+3 percent|
|Outdoor & Sports Toys||-4 percent|
|Building Sets||-5 percent|
|Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys||-5 percent|
|All Other Toys||-6 percent|
Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, Annual 2018 vs. 2017
In order of absolute dollar growth, dolls had the strongest growth thanks in large part to L.O.L. Surprise! (MGA Entertainment), Barbie (Mattel), and Hatchimals (Spin Master). Action figures followed, with sales from Jurassic World (Mattel), Marvel Universe (Hasbro), and Beyblade (Hasbro) driving most of the growth. Cool Maker (Spin Master), Cra-Z-Art, and Kinetic (Spin Master) helped the gains in arts and crafts, while Fingerlings (WowWee), Kidi (VTech), and L.O.L. Surprise! helped the youth electronics supercategory experience growth.
Top properties for the year based on total dollar sales included L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Nerf (Hasbro), Marvel Universe, and Hot Wheels (Mattel). MGA Entertainment dominated the traditional toys top sellers, holding seven of the top ten spots.
Top Selling Traditional Toy Items in 2018, Ranked on Dollars
|1||L.O.L. Surprise! Doll Assortment||MGA Entertainment|
|2||L.O.L. Surprise! Series Eye Spy Tots Under Wraps Blind Pack Assortment||MGA Entertainment|
|3||L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Bigger Surprise||MGA Entertainment|
|4||L.O.L. Surprise! Pets Blind Pack Assortment||MGA Entertainment|
|5||Hot Wheels Singles 1:64 Assortment||Mattel|
|6||L.O.L. Surprise! Lil Sister Assortment||MGA Entertainment|
|7||L.O.L. Surprise! Pearl Doll Assortment||MGA Entertainment|
|8||L.O.L. Surprise! House With 85 Surprises||MGA Entertainment|
|10||L.O.L. Surprise! Biggie Pets Assortment||MGA Entertainment|
Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service