Outdoor and sports toys see surge in popularity

Data published by The NPD Group, for the week ending 18 April, shows the outdoor category is booming, with Wilton Bradley, Vivid, Mookie Toys, Simba and Hasbro among most popular outdoor toys in Britain

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 12.05.2020 | Retail

Outdoor and sports toys see surge in popularity thumbnail

Research from The NPD Group, published at the end of April, illustrates that the warmer UK weather, has driven play outdoors.

Board game sales may have dominated during the week pre-lockdown, according to The NPD Group, peaking at 21 per cent of total toy sales between 15-21 March, but since then, the outdoor category has been the largest by far. The category accounted for 29.3 per cent of sales and a spend of £7.7m in the week ending 18 April. The figures reflect a growth of 1.7 points in market share compared to the same period last year.  

Topping the list of top 10 best-selling outdoor and sports toys for the week ending 18 April was Wilton Bradley’s Bestway 8ft Fast Set Pool and Cover.  

Speaking of the surge in popularity for the outdoor toy category, Frédérique Tutt, Global Toy Market Expert for The NPD Group, said: "During lockdown, leisure and play activities have taken a central place in family life. With the arrival of sunny days, parents want to see their children play outside and get fresh air where they can, especially if they are lucky enough to have a garden. This could continue if travel remains limited during the summer holidays." 

Top 10 best-selling outdoor and sports toys week ending 18 April, ranked by value sales:  

  1. 8ft Fast Set Pool And Cover – Wilton Bradley  
  2. Wubble Bubble Ball Without Pump Assortment – Vivid Goliath Group 
  3. Scuttlebug – Mookie Toys 
  4. Aquaplay 516 Aqualand With Loc – Simba 
  5. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary – MGA Entertainment 
  6. Bunch O Balloons – Zuru  
  7. Bunch O Balloons Rapid Fill Water Slide – Zuru 
  8. Little Tikes Dinosaur Cozy Coupe ¬– MGA Entertainment 
  9. Gazillion Tornado Bubble Machine – Funrise 
  10. Nerf N Strike Elite Disruptor – Hasbro 
Top 10 data published by The NPD Group

Image: Wilton Bradley's top-selling 8ft Fast Set Pool And Cover 

Other data from the NPD Group shows that US families are also balancing screen-time with real-world activities and traditional play, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In the US, sales of outdoor and sports toys grew by 22 percent over the first quarter of 2020 – something that Juli Lennett, NPD’s toys industry advisor attributes to the warmer weather and children’s yearning for something to take the place of cancelled organised and school sports events.  

Lennett said: “With organised and school sports cancellations being one of the casualties of Covid-19, parents and children yearned for something to take the place of those outdoor, physical activities. Trampolines and skates/skateboards/scooters fulfilled that need for many families. 

“And with warmer weather approaching, outdoor and sports toys will be the supercategory to watch if lockdowns continue.” 

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