U.S. Toy Industry Grows 2% in 2010, Generating $21.87 Billion in Sales, Reports The NPD Group

This article is based on a press release issued by The NPD Group on January 27, 2011

January 28, 2011 | U.S. retail sales of toys brought in $21.87 billion in 2010, compared to $21.46 billion in 2009, according to leading market research company The NPD Group. Significant increases in sales were seen in the Plush (18%), Building Sets (13%), Outdoor & Sports Toys (9%), Dolls (6%) and Infant/Preschool (6%) categories.

The 2% growth in sales is largely due to strong fourth quarter sales, which experienced a 3% increase over fourth quarter 2009 and generated revenues of $10.2 billion. December 2010 holiday shoppers brought the industry $5.64 billion – a 4% increase in revenue from the previous year.

An increasing number of consumers are relying on Internet-shopping; Online/Internet sales grew 22% from 2009. Retail channel performance also increased at Toy Stores (4%) and Food/Drug stores (6%) and declined in the Department/Major Chain (-11%) and Mass Merchant/Discount (-2%) channels.

Overall unit sales increased by 4%; increases were seen in unit sales for Dolls (23%), Building Sets (13%) and Outdoor & Sports Toys (12%).

Categories that fared poorly in comparison to 2009 figures include Youth Electronics (-22%), Action Figures/Accessories/Role Play (-15%) and Games/Puzzles (-9%).

"Looking forward to 2011, there is much optimism coming off the strong holiday performance for toys," said NPD Group industry analyst Anita Frazier in a press release. "From our KIDS tracker, we know that toys is one of the top categories kids are spending their holiday gift cards on. With an improving economy, several movie releases, and a wide array of innovative product coming to market, 2011 looks to be another solid year for toy sales."

Top properties for the year based on total dollar sales included Barbie, Crayola, Nerf, Star Wars and Toy Story. Licensed toys represented 25% of total industry sales in 2010; the best-selling licensed properties of the year were Cars: The Movie, Disney Princess, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends and Toy Story.