According to market research company, The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.47 billion in 2009 compared to $21.65 billion in 2008, a decline of under 1 percent. While sales for children ages 8 and under still represent the lion’s share of total toy sales at 69 percent, the only age group to gain in share and absolute dollar sales was kids ages 9 to 12.
“2009 was a remarkably uneventful year for the toy industry, but in a good way," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. " In a time of continued economic turmoil, toy industry revenues were very stable, and the uptick in unit sales in the four quarter is a very positive sign for the industry heading into 2010.”
Looking at revenue sales performance across super-categories, building sets and arts and crafts experienced the most significant increases, at 23 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Action Figures and Games/Puzzles saw respective revenue increases of 4 percent and 1 percent. Looking at the opposite side of the revenue sales spectrum, Youth Electronics and Plush experienced the largest declines when compared to 2008, at 17 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
“The increase in Building Sets and Arts & Crafts speaks to the entertainment value these categories deliver," said Frazier. "Both can deliver hours of open-ended play, and Arts & Crafts in particular does so at very attractive price points.”
Counter to what many would expect due to the economy, unit share for toys priced under $5 decreased in 2009, both for the full year and in the forth quarter. In 2009, while overall unit sales were down less than 1 percent (0.5%), the only price range that lost share were toys under $5. In other words, people were buying more toys priced in the mid-range (between $5 and $10).