Today, more than ever, Americans have a love affair with shopping. It’s easy to see why when we live in a world where the dopamine rush of purchasing a new item is a mere click away. Although recent data tells us that consumers are slowing their superfluous spending to weather inflation, they still want to buy specific items like toys, with a few caveats. Brands that can appeal to price-sensitive shoppers with discounts, educational prowess, and the thrill of nostalgia will drive the toy industry in 2023. Discover the 2023 toy trends to watch and how market research can help brands capitalize on them. 

Toy Industry Trends To Watch In 2023

Unlike many industries, the toy market went through the pandemic relatively unscathed. However, sky-high inflation threatens to rain on the parade of major toymakers like Hasbro, VTech, Mattel, and more. 

In 2022 alone, the global toy industry sales reached nearly $37 billion in revenue, but 2023 remains uncertain. Hasbro’s stock price plummeted in Q3 after it recorded losses, which the toy giant attributes to price sensitivity. Hasbro plans to simplify and focus on its top brands, including play-doh, to appease stockholders. Keep reading for more trends to watch.

Price Sensitivity Is Here To Stay

Studies show Americans spend $6,500 on toys over a child’s lifetime. US kids have a lot to play with between the winter holidays, birthdays, graduations, milestone moments, and “just because” occasions. However, the cost of living and everyday essentials are putting a strain on parents everywhere, giving them pause about toy purchases.

Customers will actively seek out retail promotions and companies that deliver will fare better. Brands like MGA Entertainment, maker of LOL Surprise dolls, offer more items for under $15 to cater to more cost-conscious parents.

When it comes to driving sales, retailers need to understand what their customers want and create an environment that helps them feel comfortable spending money.

Classic Toys Are Back

According to a report from The Washington Post, the toy industry has seen a rise in sales for certain classic toys, like Tonka trucks. According to new data from market research firm NPD Group, sales of toys that have been around for decades have increased significantly over the last year. The Tonka Mighty Dump truck rose more than 250% year-over-year as of fall 2022. 

Why the increase in “vintage” toys? A special group of consumers, known as “kidults,” are creating a new playing field. 

“Kidults” Are Keeping The Industry Afloat

“Kidults” are a niche group of kids and adults ages 12 and older who seek toys that remind them of their childhood. Toys that embody cartoon or superhero characters are trendy, in addition to Lego sets and dolls. Thanks to higher disposable incomes, these shoppers aren’t as price sensitive as other groups. 

“Kidults” have the power to keep the toy industry afloat, according to data from the NPD Group. These kids at heart are responsible for one-fourth of all toy sales annually, around $9 billion worth, and are the biggest driver of growth throughout the industry. 

Toys That Double As Educational Tools Will Reign Supreme

The final trend to watch in 2023 is the rise of educational toys. Kids these days get a lot of screen time, and to balance things out, many parents purchase toys that work overtime, pulling both entertainment and knowledge levers. This “added value” may alleviate some of the worries of cost-conscious parents. 

Per the Global Educational Toy Market Report 2023, educational toy market revenue is expected to reach multi-million dollar levels by 2026. The most in-demand educational toys include activity-based toys, games/puzzles, construction toys, dolls, and sports or outdoor items. 

Market Research Tools For The Toy Industry 

The toy industry has changed dramatically over the last few decades and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Companies need to be aware of these trends and changes in order to remain competitive.

Here are some of the most helpful market research tools to help you get started.


Surveys are one of the most common types of market research tools used by businesses all over the world. They involve asking consumers questions about their habits and preferences with regard to certain products or services. 

Agile market research allows companies to collect data about their customers and employees to develop products, communications, and services that suit the needs of their audience. Using templated surveys lets you learn precisely what your audience wants and needs, leading to long-term success.

Social Media Listening

Social media listening allows you to monitor conversations about your brand on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 

Social listening involves monitoring a wide range of public content to gauge the sentiment surrounding a particular topic or entity. Social listening aims to understand what people think about your brand, product, or service.

Price Testing

Price testing is a method that helps you validate your price for a product or service. It’s a way to gauge how much customers are willing to pay for a product, so you can make sure it’s profitable.

There are two main reasons why brands should do price testing:

1) You want to know if your product or service is priced correctly so you can make informed decisions about pricing strategies going forward.

2) You want to see if there are ways to improve the profitability of your brand by lowering costs or increasing revenue.

Bottom Line 

In today’s uncertain market, toy companies are facing significant challenges. They need to be able to predict the future, find new ways to serve shoppers, and make sure they’re using their resources wisely.

Fuel Cycle has many tools to help companies supercharge their toy sales in person and online. Fuel Cycle Ignition delivers a suite of advanced methodologies for real-world intelligence.

Ignition apps like Market Share Conversion Funnel, Brand Perception, Monadic Price Testing, and Advertising-Driven Brand Lift give you practical, workable, and predictive insights so you know exactly what’s happening and what to do next. To find out how to ignite action with Ignition, click here or request a demo to see it in action for yourself.