Young Couple In Pajamas Playing Video Game Together

Not just for kids anymore, toys are a growth industry.

By Rieva Lesonsky

The midst of the holiday (shopping) season seems like an appropriate time to talk about toys. And as the latest research from Mintel shows, toys are not just for kids: 63 percent of American consumers says toys are for adults too.

The numbers (from September 2015 to September 2016) show 48 percent of toys are bought for kids age 12 and younger, 30 percent for older kids and 38 percent for adults. In fact, 22 percent of shoppers bought toys (or a game) for themselves. “Kids’ toys marketed to adults represent a potential area for expansion,” says Dana Macke, Senior Lifestyles & Leisure Analyst at Mintel, citing the explosive market demand for adult coloring books, which are marketed as a “meditative stress reliever for adults.”

There are several paths to finding success in this business. If you’re thinking about starting a toys business, you might want to check out the Toy Fair, February 18-21 in New York City. The most popular toy purchases are card or board games, arts & crafts, building sets, stuffed animals, toy vehicles and puzzles. Parents of kids age 12-17 find “value” in electronic toys, while those with younger kids (particularly under age 5) prefer traditional toys.

Toys are not just seasonal sellers. Mintel says 55 percent of toys are purchased as birthday gifts, 46 percent as holiday gifts and 31 percent just to “have a laugh.”

Mintel’s research also shows 46 percent of toy shoppers “prefer to purchase items specific to girls or boys,” while 40 percent would rather buy gender-neutral toys.

Toys are a serious market—in the U.S. alone traditional toys and games is a $26.1 billion industry—and Mintel says growth has accelerated over the past four years. More specifically, toy sales rose 7 percent from 2015-2016 and 6.9 percent the year before. Mintel says the toy market will continue to show “strong growth” in 2017.