Global Toy Sales Up 4 Percent in First Half of 2018


Toy sales reached $18.4 billion in the first half of 2018, up 4 percent over last year across the 13 international markets tracked by The NPD Group’s Global Toy Market Report.

The report, which covers Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S., found that North America is the world’s largest region for toy sales. Asia, which has increased by 21 percent in the last five years, has the strongest growth prospect.

In terms of countries, Mexico’s sales grew the fastest, up 15 percent. Brazil followed with 11 percent growth and the U.S. increased by 7 percent. Australia’s sales were up 4 percent, while Canada’s jumped 3 percent. Europe recorded a 1 percent decrease, with growth in Germany, Russia, Italy and Spain offset by slight declines in other countries.

The collectibles market continues to be strong. In the first half of the year, sales were led by the worldwide popularity of L.O.L. Surprise!, which ranked as the number one toy property in all 13 countries NPD tracked. Global sales of collectibles increased by 26 percent. Collectibles now account for 11 percent of dollar sales in the total toy industry. In addition to L.O.L. Surprise!, popular toy properties in the first half of the year are Total Marvel, Star Wars, Nerf, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Pokémon, PAW Patrol, Total DC Comics and LEGO City.

The youth electronics segment grew by 29 percent, led by sales of Fingerlings. Meanwhile, sales of miscellaneous toys grew by 12 percent, with Soft’n Slow Squishes, Major League Baseball cards and Panini Russia 2018 World Cup stickers among the top sellers. The games segment was up 12 percent, with Monopoly, UNO and Exploding Kittens driving growth.

Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at The NPD Group, stated, “Traditional play patterns, collectibles, social media and innovation are the major themes we saw trending globally in the first six months of the year, and I expect they will continue to accelerate. More than entertainment, brands have been an important trend to move the needle for the industry so far this year. Some key themes have also emerged or have been increasing in popularity, such as dinosaurs and unicorns on the one hand, and slime or toilet humor on the other.”

Tutt added, “As domestic markets become more and more mature, manufacturers and retailers are looking at new territories to find growth. The Global Toy Market Report has become an indispensable tool to tackle international growth opportunities and generate incremental revenue.”