Adult toy fans fuel market growth, says NPD

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

April 10th 2017 at 11:06AM
UPDATED April 10th 2017 at 12:43PM
Adult toy fans fuel market growth, says NPD

One in every 11 toys sold in Britain throughout 2016 was bought by an adult for themselves, with the most popular products being games and puzzles, building sets and action figures.

The £300 million ‘kidult’ toy market is growing three times faster than the overall toy sector, according to the latest research from NPD.

One in every 11 toys sold in Britain throughout 2016 was  bought by an adult for themselves, with the most popular products being games and puzzles, building sets and action figures.

According to the latest figures, British adults aged 18 and upwards, are powering growth in the toy sector by buying toys for themselves, leading to a 65 per cent increase in value terms of the ‘kidult’ market since 2012.

The sector grew by 12 per cent in 2016 alone.

Millenials account for 50 per cent of the spend among grown-ups buying toys for themselves, while Generation X-ers account for around a third and Boomers, 18 per cent.

“The trend for the not so young buying toys for themselves is a sign of our times,” said Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst, toys, NPD.

“It’s now normal in Britain to see adults playing games on their smartphones in public, and that’s true whether the adult is dressed in a hoodie or a suit. Recently, we have experienced a revival in the market for board games as families look to spend quality time together the old-fashioned way.

“The trend for people aged 18 and upwards buying toys for themselves is possibly a reaction against the stresses of our fast-paced lives. Toys are fun – and when you are having fun any stress you might be feeling goes away. It makes perfect sense.”

The most prominent categories in the current ‘kidult’ trend are games and puzzles, accounting for 17 per cent of sales, building sets at 16 per cent, action figures at 16 per cent and vehicles at 11 per cent.

Much of the growth in the older audience for toys can be attributed to the rise in collectable toys and popular characters.

LEGO and Star Wars appear to be favourites for the more mature toy buyer.