Total toy sales in the US grew by 26 per cent in the week ending 21 March, according to the latest figures from NPD, as families “loaded up on things to keep their kids occupied at home”.
Juli Lennett, NPD’s US toys industry advisor, says a spike in sales has fallen in line with bulk buying of other basic necessities. Toy have become part of “phase two of the big scramble” she says, “ to “help [parents] navigate their new home-schooling situation, and t also be a source of entertainment for the whole family as we spend more time at home”.
That’s reflected in the types of toys that have seen the biggest rise in sales, namely board games, up 228 per cent over the seven-day period, building sets (+76 per cent) and arts and crafts (+70 per cent). With warmer weather on the horizon, outdoor toys have also experienced a seasonal lift, with sales of scooters, bikes and sports toys growing 20 per cent.
“On top of all this, Easter is near,” Juli adds. “Parents are likely seeking stability for their kids by maintaining Easter traditions and also buying ahead, as shopping visits become few and far between.”
The figures largely mirror those in the UK, which NPD shared earlier this week, where board games and puzzles, arts and crafts and LEGO and other construction sets have become the order of the day.
Other associated sectors have also felt a halo effect, as seen in the rise in sales of non-fiction books for kids, up 66 per cent.
Kristen McLean, NPD’s books industry analyst, says the phenomenon is due to “school at home combined with a higher demand for fun, in-house activities have lifted educational and activity book sales”.
Painting, colouring and other craft materials also soared, with watercolour paper, glass markers, paint and painting accessories all experiencing a triple-digit boost.