Toronto, ON, July 21, 2020– The Canadian toy industry saw dollar sales increase by $39 million to $631 million in the first part of 2020 (January 2020 – May 2020), a 6.5% increase over the same time period last year*. Unit sales were down 11% in the same time period, as purchasing shifted to higher priced items.
Outdoor & Sports Toys drove most of the growth, up 49% over the same period YAG, as families looked for ways to keep their children safe and active at home. Additionally, strong growth was seen YTD for Games and Puzzles, Building Sets and Arts & Crafts, with sales growth of 38%, 11%, and 10%, respectively.
The top properties for the year include L.O.L. Surprise!, Little Tikes, Marvel Universe, Pokémon, and Disney Frozen. Once again, the importance of content was highlighted as three of the top five properties (Pokémon, Disney Frozen, Marvel Universe) were bolstered by movie releases in 2019. L.O.L. Surprise! continues the strength shown in 2019, and Little Tikes has benefited from the explosion in the Outdoor & Sports toys area.
Assessing the Impact of COVID 19
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the widespread impact of social isolation measures on families has led many parents to turn to toys for help. This resulted in sales results that have never before been experienced at this time of year.
Dollar sales of children’s pool were up 229% in unit sales and over 300% in dollar sales this year versus year ago, with neighborhood parks, pools and splash pads all closed. Adult puzzles was the second fastest growing class of toys year to date, up 135% in dollar sales year over year, at a time of year that generally isn’t strong for puzzles.
“With retail stores reopening in much of the country in May, with the exception of some mall locations, we saw growth in the Infant/Toddler/Preschool, Vehicles and Dolls categories for the first time since the pandemic began,” said Joan Ramsay, NPD’s entertainment industry advisor. “As we continue to cautiously move forward, I expect that we will see continued strength in outdoor play equipment and home based family activities, as well as lower priced impulse purchases as children venture out to stores and malls with their parents.”
*Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, January-May 2020