TFE/TFE Licensing, October 2021

Page 28


2021 State of the Industry

Toy manufacturers share their thoughts on the shipping crisis, trending toy categories, and evolving beyond just toys. By Victoria Sheridan Since 2020, the pandemic has driven demand for toys and games that manu-

generations are games and puzzles — a favorite with buyers since early in the

facturers say is not slowing down.


“The toy industry continues to demonstrate how resilient it is and continues to experience growth,” Laura Zabersky, president of Jazwares, tells TFE. And growth appears strong across a wide range of product categories, as consumers seek products they and their family members of all ages can enjoy together.

“Families are still gathering and looking for fun things to do, and now games are an even bigger part of their repertoire,” say Jason Lautenschleger and Barry McLaughlin, who co-founded and co-own Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment. According to Lautenschleger and

“In regard to the last year and all of the extremely challenging circumstanc-

McLaughlin, family games remain the

es for everyone, instead of looking at it as ‘pandemic play,’ there has been a

company’s biggest seller, while adult

complete magnifying glass put on what play is in general,” says Moose Toys’

party games “are doing better than

president and general manager, Glenn Abell. “Play has become integral in

they were in 2020.”

families’ lives, instead of simply something that entertains kids.” Skip Kodak, president of the LEGO Group’s Americas region, echoes this

Kim Boyd, head of global brands and consumer innovation at Hasbro,

idea, noting that families are turning to LEGO’s bricks and sets as a means of

says its Wizards of the Coast and

bonding and connecting.

digital gaming segment revenues

“Our research shows that the quality time families discovered while bonding

increased 118% in the second quarter

over building with LEGO bricks is something that both parents and kids con-

this year, with Magic: The Gathering

tinue to prioritize, with the trend being even higher among kids who say they

and Dungeons & Dragons contributing

want to spend more time playing as a family – a definite silver lining of the

significantly to this growth.

pandemic that has significantly increased our active users,” Kodak says. He adds that the company also “saw a surge in LEGO sales to grown-ups who used building as a way to

“While the overall retail landscape is improving, we have seen extraordinary growth in the games’ category,” says Boyd. Digital gaming is also one of Spin Master’s strong points — a category that

unplug, unwind, and relax as they

president and CEO Max Rangel says is “experiencing a sharp increase that

navigated pandemic life.” LEGO

commenced in Q2 2020 that’s being sustained, primarily driven by our Toca

has introduced several products

Life World platform and Sago Mini subscription base. Kids are spending more

geared toward older builders, such

time socializing with their friends in these expansive digital playgrounds

as Botanicals, Art, and replicas

which allow them to create, connect, and share.”

from TV series like Friends and Seinfeld, and even launched an “Adults Welcome” campaign inviting grown-ups to build. The LEGO Group “saw a surge in LEGO sales to grown-ups who used building as a way to unplug, unwind, and relax as they navigated pandemic life,” Skip Kodak says.

“While the overall retail landscape is improving, we have seen extraordinary growth in the games’ category,” Hasbro’s Kim Boyd tells TFE.

One product category that continues to appeal to multiple

Greater sales of video games have also sparked more interest in video game-inspired toys. “We can’t forget the growth we’ve seen in Jazwares’ action figure category due to our strong portfolio of gaming brands,” Zabersky notes. “Video games are seeing an all-time level of high fan engagement which has resulted in high demand for figures across all our brands.”

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