Green Toys

July 6, 2011: Green Toys

The birth rate in America is still at official “baby boom” levels-which means at least 4 million kids a year are being born (as of 2009, the last year for which we have statistics). Obviously this impacts many markets, since kids need stuff-lots and lots of stuff.

One industry that’s benefitting from the newest baby boom is toys. Last year the toy industry boasted revenues of nearly $22 billion in the U.S. and more than $83 billion globally. In their Global Toy Market Estimates, the NPD Group, a leading market research company, reports that’s an increase of 4.7 percent from 2009.

The U.S. has the strongest toy sales worldwide, followed by Japan, China, the United Kingdom and France. And the world’s emerging “BRIC” markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China) boasted toy revenue growth of 13 percent.

But the real bright light in the toy industry is green or sustainable toys. So far this year green toys were showcased at both the New York Toy Fair and the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair, which is the largest in the world.

Buying green toys is “a feel-good purchase,” says Reyne Rice, a toy trend specialist with the Toy Industry Association in an interview with MSNBC several months ago. According to Rice, consumers are asking for green toys partly as a reaction to scares about toys with toxic chemicals and lead in the last few years.

The NPD Group is bullish on green toys as well. Obviously if you’re a toy retailer (on or offline) this trend is important. But it’s certainly not too late for smart entrepreneurs to start manufacturing green toys. In fact San Francisco-based Green Toys Inc. started (in a garage) in 2007 and already boasts revenues of more than $5 million-and an ever-increasing sales trajectory.