Consumer Products

How Toy Retailers are Leveraging Movies for Huge Growth?

23 Oct, 2023 | Statistics

The toy retailers are this year to be a record-breaking year as the holiday season draws near. Sales of toys during the Christmas season are being driven by a combination of nostalgia and the impact of movies and streaming. Leaders in the retail sector like Walmart and Amazon have identified an effective combination of movies and nostalgia to grab consumer interest. 

Movies and Nostalgia

The likes of toys related to popular movies including, Barbie, Super Mario Bros., Toy Story, Transformers, and more are prepared to rule holiday gift wishlists. These toys are called the "celebrities" of the toy market. Sales of toys increased dramatically between 2019 and 2020, during the holiday season in the U.S., rising by 16%. In fact, a slower but significant 13.5% rise was seen from 2020 to 2021. Although toy sales fell by 0.2% in 2022 as compared to the previous year, analysts predict that toy sales to grow by 3.5% to 4.6% during the holiday season in 2023.

Key players have a big influence on toy trends over the holiday season. By controlling almost 24% of the whole toy market in the U.S., both offline and online, Walmart is in the lead with the largest market share. Followed by Target and Amazon with a market share of approximately 15% and 19%, respectively. The top toy lists of these players include LEGO, Cocomelon, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Disney, Jurassic World, and more. Moreover, customers are beginning their holiday gift-buying binges earlier than before.

A recent survey by National Retail Federation (NRF) shows, 39% of respondents already started their holiday shopping earlier than normal. While in 2022, 46% of consumers started their holiday shopping before November, that's up from 39% in 2019. Furthermore, restraint in discretionary spending may result from the economy's unpredictability but the emotional significance of gifts, particularly when gifting children, frequently takes precedence over financial worries. In fact, one-fourth of all toy sales, or about $9 billion, are made by adults, or “Kidults,” who are the main driver of the growth throughout the sector.

Marketing impact and popular toy categories

With many children being tempted to buy toys that are inspired by movies, streaming services like Disney+ and movies are becoming more popular in the toy industry. In fact, toys related to children's favorite movies were purchased by a significant 42% of kids. When it comes to popular toy categories among kids, dolls and playsets are the most popular choices for girls, with 46% of girls buying these toys. Construction toys come in second, which are chosen by 16% of girls, followed by toy animals by 15%, action figures by 12%, and toy vehicles by 7%

Surprisingly, 4% of boys are adopting dolls and playsets as well. In contrast, 41% of boys selected construction toys as their preferred category. Action figures are a close second at 39% while toy vehicles and toy animals are preferred by 29% and 27%, respectively. Interestingly, "Toy Story 3" and the 2023 Barbie movie are two popular examples of how movie-themed marketing strategies have proven effective in the growth of the toy industry. As a result of "Toy Story 3"'s use of YouTube advertisements from the 1980s, toy sales increased by 30% in 2010. 

In the meantime, Mattel created an alluring line of products inspired by the 2023 Barbie movie, featuring Barbie and Ken dolls and a model of Barbie's dreamhouse. As a result of this, there was a 25% rise in Barbie toy sales in the U.S. Mattel expects that the movie's success will bring in about $100 million this year including toy sales, and product licensing.

The 2023 Holiday season is expected to drive huge growth for the toy sector. Movies are fueling the expansion of toy stores by raising kidult interest in historic toy brands, and raising demand for toys based on kid-friendly films.

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