Kids’ obsession with “unboxing” and collecting toys, a revival of nostalgic brands, and toys that teach children to be better global citizens are just a few of 2018’s biggest toy trends announced today by The Toy Association at its 115th North American International Toy Fair.
The Toy Association’s team of trend experts predicts that 2018 will see some of the best new products to hit store shelves in recent years. The team meets with hundreds of global toy companies throughout the year to track the latest developments in toys and youth entertainment. At New York Toy Fair, the team combs through thousands of products on the show floor before making an official announcement of the year’s hottest trends at a “Toy Trends Briefing” for media, buyers, and other show guests.
A summary of the top six trends follows:
- The “Big Reveal” – The obsession with “unboxing” a much-anticipated toy on social media is having a real influence on the toy aisle. Now, the act of removing a surprise toy from a blind bag is just as exciting as the toy itself and all part of the fun.
- Millennial Nostalgia – Millennial moms and dads – defined as those born between 1981 and 1997 – make up the majority of young parents in the U.S. today. Millennial parents believe it’s important to engage with their kids on an unplugged level in today’s world and are turning to classic toys and retro brands.
- Games Galore – Growing interest in board games over the past few years has led to phenomenal growth in the games & puzzles category, with U.S. sales up 23 percent and 3 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
- Pet Play – Playing with pretend pets – whether they are furry plush or interactive digital pets – is a growing trend for children who are eager to care for their own pets, but not yet ready for the responsibility of a real, live animal.
- Inspiring Imaginations – From role play and dress-up items, to open-ended building kits and larger-than-life playsets, to arts & crafts and food play activities, toymakers have been developing imaginative toys for decades and have perfected these playthings for kids today.
- Toys that Teach – “Play with a purpose” is a buzz-phrase among educators and parents … and the toy industry has stepped up to the plate to create teaching toys in a major way.
- Tech & Entertainment – What’s New The Toy Association is always asked about the latest tech toys and hottest properties on the market, so the trends team continually tracks innovative technologies and new licenses.