Adults are buying toys for themselves, and it’s the biggest source of growth for the industry

There are two things keeping the toy industry afloat right now: inflation and a consumer group known as “kidults.”

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, according to data from the NPD Group.

This cohort, which NPD defines as ages 12 and older, has been steadily contributing to the industry for years, but spending has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic, leading to year-over-year gains despite tough comparisons.

It’s an important moment for the toy industry, too, with the holiday season upon us. While sales surged across the board for board games, puzzles and playsets during the pandemic, the first nine months of 2022 saw a 3% decline in sales volume. Higher toy prices helped outweigh these losses, as sales revenue for the time period jumped 3%, NPD reported.

Kidults, who tend to spend more on toys, have a great fondness for cartoons, superheroes and collectibles that remind them of their childhood. They buy merchandise such as action figures, Lego sets and dolls that might typically be considered “for kids.” However, in recent years, toy makers have created product lines just for these consumers, realizing that demand is high for this generation of adults who still want to have fun.

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