From spooky, durable, and anime-inspired toys to holistic toys that give young minds and bodies a boost, Toy Association has revealed the top trends expected to drive consumer spending on toys, games and youth entertainment products in 2024. The announcement was made during the Toy Association’s annual Toy Trends Briefing, a virtual press conference that gave retailers and media a first look at the latest developments in toys and games.
“With budgets continuing to be carefully curated, today’s toy buyers are looking for more than just toys; they demand consistent play experiences – and the toy industry is delivering,” said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of marketing communications at Toy Association. “This year’s top toys will prioritize consumer budgets, durability and sustainability, while also highlighting how toy manufacturers are expanding their product range in ways that tap into cultural trends and make play more accessible to all ages and abilities.”
The Toy Association’s team of trend experts meet with hundreds of global toy companies throughout the year to track the latest developments in toys, games and youth entertainment and related industries. The press conference represented the culmination of this work and featured many sneak peeks of the best products that will be hitting stores in time for Holiday ’24 from companies of all sizes.
A summary of the key trends of 2024 follows:
(1) Environmentally sustainable play
Forty-five percent of parents under the age of 40 consider a toy’s environmental impact when making purchasing decisions, according to a Toy Association survey of American parents. In 2024, toy manufacturers will prioritize sustainability, not only as a commitment to using environmentally friendly materials, but also as a holistic approach in line with these evolving consumer values. And what consumers care about most when it comes to sustainability and purchasing products is sustainability (58%), according to a Deloitte Sustainable Consumer 2023 report.
Beyond being eco-friendly, this trend focuses on toys and brands that stand the test of time, emphasizing craftsmanship, heirloom qualities, enhanced play value, and a toy’s ability to adapt and grow with children as they age.
(2) Scary magic
Mystical, magical and supernatural toys transport kids and children on an enchanting journey, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. Thanks to a resurgent cultural interest in the spooky, mystery and horror genres across film, TV and literature, expect to see a range of toys that harness new technologies, hidden features, secret codes and unfolding narratives that tap into our natural curiosity. explore the thrill of the unknown and lead children to new discoveries. Among the properties driving this interest is Wednesday, a license to watch this year and Netflix’s most-watched English-language series (amassing 341 million hours watched in its first week, surpassing Stranger Things’ previous record of 335 million hours, depending on the streaming service).
(3) Vitamin P (lay)
In this age of conscious parenting, the toy industry is stepping up to the plate to offer a diverse range of toys that help the mind and body. Combining emotional intelligence, active screen-free play and sports-inspired fun, this trend is set to redefine the landscape of children’s play as toys produce more toys that not only promote physical fitness, but also stimulate creativity, expression emotional and social health. interaction. This trend recognizes the holistic development of the child and the role of play in the equation. In fact, some US states are now mandating play-based learning, with research showing that “playing with a purpose” leads to a deeper understanding of the curriculum. Bolstered by the expected buzz around the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, we also foresee sports toys growing in popularity.
(4) Anime mania
A fervent global fandom is bringing anime to the fore in 2024, and its influence on the toy space is expected to reach unprecedented heights. Teens and children engage in the anime community through conventions, online forums, and social media, with fans actively participating in discussions, creating fan art, and cosplay related to anime content. This enthusiasm coupled with the increased accessibility of anime through streaming channels (Crunchyroll, Netflix, Max, etc.) has pushed the genre from the grassroots to the mainstream, creating a cultural ripple effect that extends beyond entertainment and children’s audiences. in various categories of consumer products, including children’s toys.
Last year, Netflix adapted One Piece into a live-action series; Bandai opened a Tamashii Nations flagship store in Times Square that sells a diverse selection of figures, including many popular anime characters; and the marketing teams at Disney and Spy X Family in Japan teamed up to cross-promote their films Wish and Code: White. In 2024, expect to see more crossover partnerships and toy makers using anime’s distinct, beloved stories and aesthetic to create toys that resonate with diehards and casual fans alike.
(5) Fun update
Last year was a strong year for children’s entertainment and toy content, but 2024 will see more toys inspired by the evergreen characters of the past and small-screen entertainment that has cross-generational appeal. With the emergence of new preschool entertainment, look out for toys inspired by fun and entertaining features that entice little ones, as well as many birthday celebrations. Toys inspired by social media trends, video games, and digital worlds (ie Minecraft and Roblox) will also continue to create a bigger slice of the pie.