Last Updated on January 3, 2020 by Danielle
Amazon’s market share in the U.S. toy market continued to expand in 2017 with $4.5 billion in sales, a 12 percent increase over 2016, while embattled specialty toy retailer Toys R Us continues to struggle.
The NPD Group previously reported that the U.S. toy industry grew by a meager one percent. Meanwhile, in the land of Amazon.com, they delivered $4.5 billion of toy revenue in the United States in 2017. This represents roughly a 12 percent increase compared to 2016 and Amazon’s market share continues to show growth.
In stark contrast, Toys R Us, the specialty toy retailer, is struggling from its bankruptcy filing and recently announced plans to close 182 stores in the United States in its rebound efforts. Toys R Us reported sales were down 2.2 percent to $11.54 billion in 2017, due to soft entertainment category sales.
Putting that $4.5 billion worth of Amazon’s toy sales into perspective – that represents about one out of every six dollars spent on toys in the $26 billion U.S. toy industry.
The Robotics category experienced growth of 32 percent last year. However, it is worth noting it is relatively small at this point, generating $50 million in sales. Interestingly, Anki’s Cozmo and LEGO’s Mindstorms EV3 were the best-selling toys of 2017 – both of which are robotic toys.
The category of Outdoor and Sports Toys experienced explosive growth of 46 percent last year. This actually runs counter to the popularity of touch screen devices like iPads and such, indicating that parents are now promoting increased physical activity instead of having their kids glued to their screens all day. One major benefit of active play is that kids will develop better social and interaction skills by playing outdoors and with friends than simply playing on an iPad. Employers continue to seek candidates with those important soft skills.
Based on Amazon.com’s January sales results, it appears that traditional toys are surprisingly making a huge comeback. As of January 2018, L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise, the big version that puts a spin on the traditional doll, leads the pack on Amazon.com. In fact, L.O.L. Surprise helped contribute to a 23 percent increase in the Dolls/Girls Toys category last year.
Last year, the Infant/Preschool category leaped from the third biggest toy category to the number one category, generating sales of $650 million. Based on analysis from One Click Retail, because Millennials are having kids, this category is anticipated to continue to expand substantially this year.
Nathan Rigby, VP at One Click Retail, said in a statement: “Of the top 5 toys on Amazon this January, four are strictly non-digital, and none involve robotics or touchscreen technologies. Whether this signals a major shift in the toys market or is just a temporary lull in the dominance of robotics and screens is yet to be determined.”