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While toy sales always pop as the holidays approach, they also made impressive gains in the year's first nine months, according to the NPD Group's latest analysis.
U.S. toy revenue climbed 4%, growing $201 million in the third quarter of 2022. Unit sales increased by 1%. And from January through September, dollar sales increased by 3%, while unit sales slipped by 3%.
The top-10-ranked properties collectively grew an impressive 22% in the period: Pokémon, Star Wars, Barbie, Marvel Universe, Squishmallows, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, NFL, LEGO Star Wars and Jurassic World.
Pokémon, Squishmallows, NFL, Jurassic World and Toy Story/Lightyear grew fastest when ranked by revenue.
In terms of toy categories, the Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group says outdoor and sports toys are still the leader, making up 18% of all sales, at $1 billion in sales. The category gained 3% versus last year.
Infant, toddler and preschool toys come next, followed by games, puzzles, dolls, and building sets.
Plush toys, energized by Squishmallows, Pokémon and Magic Mixies, posted the most significant revenue gain at $80 million, growing 27%.
The plush category attracted 4 million more buyers in the nine months compared to last year's period.
"The U.S. toy industry performance in the third quarter continues to amaze us," says Juli Lennett, U.S. toy industry advisor for NPD, in its report, "especially after experiencing growth of 12% during the same quarter in 2021 and 22% in 2020."
And it looks like that hot streak is continuing into the holiday season. Adobe reports that toys powered the surge in Cyber Monday spending.
Adobe says online toy sales that day soared 684% compared to an average day in October 2022. Among the big sellers: Pokémon cards, Legos, Hot Wheels, Disney Encanto, LOL Surprise dolls, Cocomelon and Hatchimals.